The Washington Post
WASHINGTON - Supreme Court jus-
tices yesterday expressed skepticism about
the constitutionality of a local judge's order
keeping anti-abortion demonstrators 15 feet
away from pregnant women entering or leav-
Ong health clinics.
The comments came during oral arguments in
a case involving protester blockades of health
clinics in Buffalo and Rochester, N.Y., and test-
ing the First Amendment limits on ajudge's abil-
ity to keep the peace and protect women seeking
The question is how far a judge may go in
shielding women and clinic staff from anti-
The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 17, 1996 - 5A
tical on protest barriers to abortion clinics
abortion activists creaming, shoving and
sometimes worse. The issue has become
central to abortion-related cases at the high
court since 1992, when the justices reaf-
firmed a woman's right to abortion, and has
gained national attention as some protests
have turned violent and even deadly.
At one point in the arguments yesterday,
Solicitor General Walter Dellinger, appear-
ing on behalf of the Clinton administration
and supporting the clinics, asked what else a
local judge could do when faced with evi-
dence of patient intimidation and crowding.
"What's a trial judge supposed to do?" he
"One of the things
he's supposed to do
is read the First
A m e n d m e n t,"
referring to the right
of free speech.
Souter observed that
What's a trial
judge supposed to
- Walter Dellinger
Soliciter general for clinics
The justices ruled in 1994
that judges can establish
"buffer zones" to prevent
demonstrators from obstruct-
ing clinics but they cannot
restrict "more speech than
necessary" to protect access
to medical care or serve any
other significant government
interest. In that 1994 Florida
case, the justices upheld a
no-protest zone around a clinic
ever one thinks of abortion ... there are respect-
ful reasons for opposing it:' He argued a federal
judge's order regulating conduct at the Buffalo
and Rochester clinics impinged on protesters
The order, barring activists from blocking
access to facilities and harassing patients and
staff, kept demonstrators from within 15 feet
of a clinic entrance and established a 15-foot
"floating" zone to protect anyone arriving or
leaving. The latter provision, subject to heat-
ed debate yesterday, allows no more than two
protesters to enter the zone and requires that
they retreat if the woman or anyone else
approached asks them to leave.
around people coming and going are more diffi-
cult for police to enforce than fixed zones around
a clinic building. In the latter, he said, people
"know what the line is."
Yesterday, Jay Alan Sekulow, representing
New York anti-abortion protesters, said, "what-
Join the Daily. Call 76-DAILY.
action for 'genocide'
The Washington Post The Nation of Islam leader also
NEW YORK - Thousands of peo- called on the United States to lift its
ple gathered in the streets near the economic embargo against Cuba. Many
O.Jnited Nations yesterday for a rally in the crowd applauded Farrakhan's
called by Nation of Islam leader Louis speech and celebrated appearances by
Farrakhan, who demanded that the U.N. Winnie Mandela, the former wife of
take action against the United States for South African President Nelson
the "genocide" of blacks and Native Mandela, and recording star Stephanie
Americans. Mills, who were among the few celebri-
The "Day ofAtonement" rally, which ties on the program. But the audience
organizers said was being broadcast by seemed less concerned with
satellite across the country and around Farrakhan's foreign-policy agenda than
the world, was intended to commemo- in attempting to recapture the spirit of
rate the first anniversary of last year's the Million Man March.
Million Man March. But unlike the his- "I'm here because I wanted to be
K;oric march in Washington, which with the brothers and sisters to cele-
brought together hundreds of thousands brate the anniversary of the march,"
of African American men, yesterday's said Ryan Yarborough, 25, a financial
rally drew much smaller crowds, planner who played two years in the
enjoyed little support from national National Football League. "I really
black leaders, and. featured an agenda want to see my community improved
crafted almost exclusively by and my people uplifted."
Farrakhan. The midday rally was held less than
In a 2 1/2-hour speech that many in a block from the offices of the Anti-
the crowd at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza Defamation League - for years both
watched on two scoreboard-sized tele- a target and nemesis of Farrakhan's
kision monitors, Farrakhan called on - prompting a large show of force by
the United States to acknowledge and the New York police. And despite
take steps to repair the damage done by threats of counter protests by Jewish
its past transgressions, including slav- groups who consider Farrakhan to be
ery and covert efforts to destabilize for- an anti-Semite, only one small band
eign governments. of protesters materialized. Police
Farrakhan also challenged the United reported no problems.
Nations to "stand up" to the United Through much of his address to
States, which he said exerts undue influ- the 20,000 to 30,000 people gathered
ence on the world body, leading it to here Wednesday, Farrakhan focused
endorse "unjust" policies such as inter- on the conservative message of per-
P1ational sanctions against Iraq and sonal responsibility that has been
Libya. Farrakhan's visits to those two one of his hallmarks. But Farrakhan
countries, and his efforts to win U.S. also talked about his controversial
government approval for a $1 billion gift tour of Africa and the Middle East
from Libya have generated controversy. earlier this year.
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Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan addresses the Million Man March on Oct.
16, 1995, on Capitol Hill. In a lengthy oratory under the fading afternoon sun,
Farrakan scolded, praised and encouraged the mass rally of black men and
strengthened his claim to a growing leadership role among American blacks. The
one-year anniversary of the march, the World Day of Atonement in New York, was
observed yesterday, causing little stir.
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