Mccullen V. Coakley Case Study

880 Words 4 Pages
Opinion of the Court: McCullen v. Coakley The Eleanor McCullen against Martha Coakley, Attorney General of Massachusetts was a Supreme Court Issue in 2013. In 2000 Massachusetts Legislature created the Massachusetts Reproductive Health Care Facilities Act which stated that a buffer zone will be enforced around abortion clinics to prevent interference between those who are pro-life and pro-choice advocates. The final ruling from the Supreme Court was that the buffer zones did violate the First Amendment. A similar act was enacted in Colorado, that the Court sided for the buffer zones in the Hill v Colorado (2000). The case became local when the McGuire v. Reilly was denied the challenge the First Amendment. Around 2007, Massachusetts legislators …show more content…
She said that protesting and petitioning are different in the way they address their audience. Many protesters use signs, chanting and sometimes physical altercation while petitions use a method called “sidewalk counseling”. The creation of buffer zones made it difficult for those petitioning difficult to offer help and counseling. Petitioners have had a decrease in the spread of pamphlets and conversations. The information presented to the Court was used to determine the if there was violation to the First Amendment (McCullen v. Coakley, Opinion, 5,6,7).
Later in 2008, petitioners sued Martha Coakley, believing that the Act violated the First and Fourteenth Amendment. These claims were denied do to the court staying with the decision from the McGuire v. Reilly. The case then returned to the District Court which again remained as a denial for further trial.
The Massachusetts Act regulates public walkways and sidewalks which is specifically protected by the First Amendment. Public paths create a lot of movement, that allows easy spread of ideas and beliefs. Historically, public areas have been places to hold speeches and other gatherings for free speech. The Amendment makes it very difficult for Enforcement to restrict speech in public forums. While the government can not regulate the content of speech they can responsibly enforce the place, time and way of speech (McCullen v. Coakley, Opinion,
…show more content…
Some zones were too large for petitioners to decipher those who were actually patients or bystanders before they enter the buffer zones. The distance also creates a burden for petitioners to begin a conversation with patients as a way of counseling. McCullen personally states that even if she does begin a conversation with someone outside the buffer zone she must abruptly stop at the edge of zone which gives the appearance that she is “suspicious”. She also says the zones causes her to raise her voice when speaking to people from a distance which does not give the compassion she wishes to convey (McCullen v. Coakley, Opinion, 20). The Supreme Court noted these views as they were scene to be a way of violating the First

Related Documents