Buffer Zones

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.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

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