Eugene Volokh [*] analyzes the analogy between buffer zones around abortion providers and buffer zones around Presidential speeches and finds them, as the lawyers say, “on all fours.” Sounds right to me, and the analogy, if applied, would either loosen the rules the Secret Service has been applying to anti-Bush demonstrators or tighten the restrictions on the right-to-lifers.
Two differences difference Eugene doesn’t mention: (1) Anti-abortion demonstrators frequently act in ways that deliberately intimidate and harass staff and clients, to the point where some facilities recruit teams of volunteers to protect women from being jostled, screamed at and having bloody fetuses waved in their faces. (2) The long history of property destruction and personal violence amed at the clinics and their employees turns every demonstration into a potential threat. Neither of those holds for Presidential speeches.
Still, Eugene’s parity proposal seems fair enough to me. Better than what we have now, anyway.
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