Scheidler v. National Organization for Women, Inc., 537 U.S. 393, 5 (2003)

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Cite as: 537 U. S. 393 (2003)

Opinion of the Court

Chief Justice Rehnquist delivered the opinion of the Court.

We granted certiorari in these cases to answer two questions. First, whether petitioners committed extortion within the meaning of the Hobbs Act, 18 U. S. C. 1951. Second, whether respondents, as private litigants, may obtain injunctive relief in a civil action pursuant to 18 U. S. C. 1964 of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). We hold that petitioners did not commit extortion because they did not "obtain" property from respondents as required by the Hobbs Act. We further hold that our determination with respect to extortion under the Hobbs Act renders insufficient the other bases or predicate acts of racketeering supporting the jury's conclusion that petitioners violated RICO. Therefore, we reverse without reaching the question of the availability of private injunctive relief under 1964(c) of RICO.

We once again address questions arising from litigation between petitioners, a coalition of antiabortion groups called the Pro-Life Action Network (PLAN), Joseph Scheidler, and other individuals and organizations that oppose legal abortion,1 and respondents, the National Organization for Women, Inc. (NOW), a national nonprofit organization that supports the legal availability of abortion, and two health

Credit Corp. by Charles G. Cole, Howard H. Stahl, and Bruce C. Bishop; for the NARAL Foundation/NARAL et al. by Amy E. Weissman, Sara N. Love, and Lawrence S. Ottinger; and for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice et al. by George R. Kucik and Bonnie J. Campbell.

Briefs of amici curiae were filed for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Inc., by Raymond J. LaJeunesse, Jr.; for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc., by Jeffrey S. Kerr and Craig M. Bradley; for Texas Black Americans for Life et al. by Lawrence J. Joyce; and for Emily Lyons by Pamela L. Sumners.

1 The other petitioners include Andrew Scholberg, Timothy Murphy, and Operation Rescue.


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