Skip to content
Name: Scheidler v. National Organization for Women
Case #: 01-1118
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 02/26/2003
Subsequent History: Cross-cites: 123 S.Ct. 1057; 154 L.Ed. 2d 991

Petitioners, a group of individuals who oppose abortion, were found in violation of federal racketeering (RICO) provisions, including acts of extortion under the Hobbs Act and state extortion law. In this opinion, the Supreme Court held that the RICO judgment had to be reversed because the predicate acts supporting the jury’s finding had to be reversed. Petitioners did not commit extortion within the meaning of the Hobbs Act because they did not “obtain” property from respondents. Even when petitioners’ acts of interference and disruption achieved their ultimate goal of shutting down an abortion clinic, they did not acquire respondent’s business assets. The distinction is between extortion and coercion. J. Stevens dissented.