Right end, wrong means.

Position:Use of federal racketeering statues against Operation Rescue - Editorial

When the right end is achieved by resorting to the wrong means, the usual result is short-term gain and long-term grief. That is the case, we fear, with the Supreme Court's unanimous decision in NOW v. Scheidler, the lawsuit brought by the National Organization for Women to halt physical obstruction, vandalism, and violence directed against abortion clinics by some anti-abortion activists.

The problem is real and acute. So-called right-to-life organizations like Operation Rescue and the Pro-life Action Network - the specific target in the NOW suit - have not been content to exercise their First Amendment rights by picketing and engaging in nonviolent demonstrations. Instead, they have barricaded clinics, preventing patients and staff from going in. They have also engaged in forceful entry of clinics, intimidating patients and vandalizing the premises. In some communities, police have looked the other way when such blockades and invasions occurred.

The NOW suit sought relief from such abusive conduct by invoking the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, a law of dubious constitutionality intended to be used against organized crime. Like other conspiracy-type statutes, it attempts to help law-enforcement by creating a category...

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