Expert Available to Discuss SCOTUS McCullen v Coakley Abortion Protest Decision
Source Newsroom: Washington University in St. Louis
John Inazu, constitutional law expert and professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis, is available to discuss the U.S. Supreme Court decision in McCullen v. Coakley.
Inazu co-authored an amicus brief in this case on behalf of a broad coalition of religious groups. "If Massachusetts can close off the sidewalks surrounding reproductive health centers to peaceful expressive activity, then the government can prohibit expression in a wide range of circumstances,” he says.
In his brief, Inazu emphasizes the “sheer magnitude of these restrictions,” noting that this statute criminalizes almost any use of the sidewalk near a reproductive health-care facility, including conversations between two willing participants or even a person singing or praying quietly to herself.
The brief argues that the Massachusetts law and a 2000 Supreme Court opinion upholding a similar Colorado law represent a breach of the public forum doctrine rooted in the First Amendment right to assembly.