Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Good news on RICO application

The Supreme Court is really on a roll of late. Released today is another good decision of the court in which all the justices taking part in the decision were unanimous in doing the right thing. In Scheider et al v. NOW the court has ruled that the anti-racketeering law, RICO, designed to go after organized crime, was not intended by congress to allow a "freestanding physical violence offense" unrelated to other classic organized crime contexts. In other words, RICO should not be applied to protestors for life and against abortion (or others exercising the right to free speech) so long as they do not engage in robbery or extortion (easy to avoid in pro-life protesting).

This is good news in several ways. First, pro-life protestors should not be treated like the Mafia. Government should not punish good. Second, RICO should only apply to real racketeering. It's use for other purposes is beyond the intent of Congress, the clear meaning of the act, and an equitable application of the law. Third, this opinion is more evidence that the Roberts court has a new commitment to playing by the rules and applying the law properly. Three cheers!

No comments: