Scheidler v. National Organization for Women, Inc., 537 U.S. 393, 8 (2003)

Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  Next




Opinion of the Court

matter, an extortionist can violate the Hobbs Act without either seeking or receiving money or anything else. A loss to, or interference with the rights of, the victim is all that is required.' " Ibid. (quoting United States v. Stillo, 57 F. 3d 553, 559 (CA7 1995)). Finally, the Court of Appeals upheld the issuance of the nationwide injunction, finding that private plaintiffs are entitled to obtain injunctive relief under 1964(c) of RICO. We granted certiorari, 535 U. S. 1016 (2002), and now reverse.

We first address the question whether petitioners' actions constituted extortion in violation of the Hobbs Act. That Act defines extortion as "the obtaining of property from another, with his consent, induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right." 18 U. S. C. 1951(b)(2). Petitioners allege that the jury's verdict and the Court of Appeals' decision upholding the verdict represent a vast and unwarranted expansion of extortion under the Hobbs Act. They say that the decisions below "rea[d] the requirement of 'obtaining' completely out of the statute" and conflict with the proper understanding of property for purposes of the Hobbs Act. Brief for Petitioners Joseph Scheidler et al. in No. 01-1118, pp. 11-13.

Respondents, throughout the course of this litigation, have asserted, as the jury instructions at the trial reflected,4 that petitioners committed extortion under the Hobbs Act by using or threatening to use force, violence, or fear to cause respondents "to give up" property rights, namely, "a woman's right to seek medical services from a clinic, the right of

4 The instruction given to the jury regarding extortion under the Hobbs Act provided that "[p]laintiffs have alleged that the defendant and others associated with PLAN committed acts that violate federal law prohibiting extortion. In order to show that extortion has been committed in violation of federal law, the plaintiffs must show that the defendant or someone else associated with PLAN knowingly, willfully, and wrongfully used actual or threatened force, violence or fear to cause women, clinic doctors, nurses or other staff, or the clinics themselves to give up a 'property right.' " Jury Instruction No. 24, App. 136.

Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007