Scheidler v. National Organization for Women, Inc., 537 U.S. 393, 6 (2003)

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Opinion of the Court

care centers that perform abortions.2 Our earlier decision provides a substantial description of the factual and procedural history of this litigation, see National Organization for Women, Inc. v. Scheidler, 510 U. S. 249 (1994), and so we recount only those details necessary to address the questions here presented.

In 1986, respondents sued in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois alleging, inter alia, that petitioners violated RICO's 1962(a), (c), and (d). They claimed that petitioners, all of whom were associated with PLAN, the alleged racketeering enterprise, were members of a nationwide conspiracy to "shut down" abortion clinics through a pattern of racketeering activity that included acts of extortion in violation of the Hobbs Act.3

The District Court dismissed respondents' RICO claims for failure to allege that the predicate acts of racketeering or the racketeering enterprise were economically motivated. See National Organization for Women, Inc. v. Scheidler, 765 F. Supp. 937 (ND Ill. 1991). The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed that dismissal. See National Organization for Women, Inc. v. Scheidler, 968 F. 2d 612 (1992). We granted certiorari and reversed, concluding that RICO does not require proof that either the racketeering enterprise or the predicate acts of racketeering were moti-2 NOW represents a certified class of all NOW members and non-members who have used or would use the services of an abortion clinic in the United States. The two clinics, the National Women's Health Organization of Summit, Inc., and the National Women's Health Organization of Delaware, Inc., represent a class of all clinics in the United States at which abortions are provided.

3 The Hobbs Act, 18 U. S. C. 1951(a), provides that "[w]hoever in any way or degree obstructs, delays, or affects commerce or the movement of any article or commodity in commerce, by robbery or extortion or attempts or conspires so to do, or commits or threatens physical violence to any person or property in furtherance of a plan or purpose to do anything in violation of this section shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both."

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