Byline: Derek Hawkins
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Case Name: Veronica Price, et al. v. City of Chicago, et al.
Case No.: 17-2196
Officials: SYKES and BARRETT, Circuit Judges, and GRIESBACH, Chief District Judge.
Focus: 1st Amendment Violation
Pro-life "sidewalk counselors" sued to enjoin Chicago's "bubble zone" ordinance, which bars them from approaching within eight feet of a person in the vicinity of an abortion clinic if their purpose is to engage in counseling, education, leafletting, handbilling, or protest. The plaintiffs contend that the floating bubble zone is a facially unconstitutional content-based restriction on the freedom of speech. The district judge dismissed the claim, relying on Hill v. Colorado, 530 U.S. 703 (2000), which upheld a nearly identical Colorado law against a similar First Amendment challenge.
Hill's content-neutrality holding is hard to reconcile with both McCullen and Reed v. Town of Gilbert, 135 S. Ct. 2218 (2015), and its narrow-tailoring holding is in tension with McCullen. Still, neither McCullen nor Reed overruled Hill, so it remains binding on us. Moreover, Chicago's bubble-zone law is narrower than the one upheld in Hill: Colorado's no approach zone applies within a 100-foot radius of a clinic...