Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Supremes ask Bush administration for opinion on abortion case

The Supreme Court put the Bush administration on the spot yesterday, asking for its views in a politically charged abortion case involving aggressive efforts to deter doctors from performing abortions. The administration will consider whether a law that protects access to abortion clinics can be used to punish protesters who list doctors' personal information on the Internet and advertise doctors and clinic staff members as "wanted" on posters. .....

Justices have been asked to hear an appeal from the anti-abortion activists, who were ordered to pay nearly $110 million in punitive damages to the doctors for violating a racketeering law and the 1994 Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. The activists maintain that their activities are protected free speech. The Bush administration's Supreme Court lawyer, Solicitor General Theodore Olson, could have filed the administration's opinion in the case without being asked, but didn't

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