The United States Supreme Court did something remarkable today. It handed down two unanimous decisions. More amazing: They went against the Left.
In one case, the Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional a Massachusetts law requiring a buffer zone in from of abortion centers to keep prayer vigils and protestors away from people entering the center (see AP article). The court said in its decision that existing laws can maintain and enforce proper order and civility. Massachusetts, in lock step with the abortion industry’s wishes, enacted this law which required a 35 foot zone in front of abortion center entrances that kept people not entering the building clear of a path to entry.
Not coincidentally, over recent years, movements such as 40 Days For Life, have become increasingly effective in praying for women entering abortion centers, showing them human and God’s love and concern, assuring them they are not alone, that taking a life is never the answer. But the abortion industry thinks it is exempt from this freedom of speech, putting the lie — once again — to its pretense of “choice.”
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, an ambitious abortion industry tool who once ran for U.S. Senate and now is running for governor, said eliminating the buffer zones would cause “additional stresses to women seeking health care.” Rarely can one misuse three words in so short a phrase.
Prayer is a stress? Care and compassion are a stress? Information about alternatives and saving a life are stress? Maybe if the ramifications of abortion were honestly discussed in an abortion center, there would be no need for people to gather outside of them. Abortion is health care? Since when is taking a life “health care”? Is the baby consulted on what’s good for his or her health care?
All was not perfect in the decision. Although unanimous, Chief Justice John Roberts and the four activist justices joined in a narrow decision, while Justice Antonin Scalia concurred separately. He wrote of the “court’s practice of giving abortion-rights advocates a pass when it comes to suppressing the free-speech rights of their opponents,” and that state and local governments around the country would continue to be able to “restrict antiabortion speech without fear of rigorous constitutional review.”
On the larger picture, he penned a precise lesson to big government types who have twisted the magnificence of our First Freedoms into a philosophy of regulation for the super sensitive who suffer from imaginary grievances:
Protecting people from speech they do not want to hear is not a function the First Amendment allows government to undertake.
The other major unanimous decision declared that the president may only make recess appointments when, in fact, the U.S. Senate actually is in recess. President Obama, when stifled by the constitution, has ignored it by appointing people to people required to be confirmed by the Senate. This can be done on a temporary basis when that chamber is in recess, but he has declared it in recess to ram through controversial figures to key positions.
Unanimous Supreme Court decisions are rare. For two to come down in a short period may be coincidental, but it does signal how much constitutional ground has been ceded to big government. For one day, at least, a bit of that ground has been reclaimed from two threats of big government: the restriction of speech and unaccountable executive action.