Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of Western New York
|Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of Western New York|
|Argued October 16, 1996|
Decided February 19, 1997
|Full case name||Paul Schenck and Dwight Saunders v. Pro-Choice Network of Western New York, et al.|
|Citations||519 U.S. 357 (more)|
|The injunction provisions imposing "fixed buffer zone" limitations are constitutional, but the provisions imposing "floating buffer zone" limitations violate the First Amendment.|
|Majority||Rehnquist, joined by unanimous (Parts I, II-A); Stevens, O'Connor, Scalia, Kennedy, Souter, Thomas, Ginsburg (Part II-C); Stevens, O'Connor, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer (Parts II-B, II-D)|
|Concur/dissent||Scalia, joined by Kennedy, Thomas|
|U.S. Const. amend. I|
Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of Western New York, 519 U.S. 357 (1997), was a case heard before the United States Supreme Court related to legal protection of access to abortion. It ruled in a 6-3 decision that "floating buffer zones" preventing protesters approaching people entering or leaving abortion clinics were unconstitutional, though "fixed buffer zones" around the clinics themselves remained constitutional. The Court's upholding the fixed buffer was the most important aspect of the ruling, because it was a common feature of injunctions nationwide.
Paul Schenck challenged a Federal District Court injunction that restricted "sidewalk counselors" from approaching abortion clinic patients and others with Bibles, tracts and pro-life messages. Because these protesters often violently harassed and intimidated patients and staff or prevented them from entering the clinic, the Court upheld the fixed buffer zone around the clinics, although it struck down the floating buffer zone around individuals because its indefinite and movable nature made it difficult to administer and risked overly restricting free speech.
- List of United States Supreme Court cases, volume 519
- List of United States Supreme Court cases
- Lists of United States Supreme Court cases by volume
- Greenhouse, Linda (February 20, 1997). "High Court Upholds 15-Foot Buffer Zone At Abortion Clinics". The New York Times.
- Hostetler, Darrin Alan (1997). "Face-to-Face with the First Amendment: Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network and the Right to 'Approach and Offer' in Abortion Clinic Protests". Stanford Law Review. Stanford Law Review, Vol. 50, No. 1. 50 (1): 179–223. doi:10.2307/1229361. JSTOR 1229361.
- Text of Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of Western New York, 519 U.S. 357 (1997) is available from: Cornell Justia Library of Congress Oyez (oral argument audio)
- PBS NewsHour: "Drawing the Line"
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