Conservatives have tried to nullify the Roe v. Wade decision a hundred different ways since it was handed down, and have had success with most of them: long waiting periods, late-term abortion restrictions, ever-higher bars for abortion clinics and abortion doctors to clear. Harassment at clinics is just a mob-based form of conservative nullification. The Supreme Court effectively made it legal again today:
The Supreme Court unanimously struck down Massachusetts' abortion buffer zone law on Thursday, ruling in favor of anti-choice protesters who argued that being required to stay 35 feet away from clinic entrances is a violation of their freedom of speech. The decision rolls back a proactive policy intended to safeguard women's access to reproductive health care in the face of persistent harassment and intimidation from abortion opponents.In other words, buffer zones are an attempt to nullify organized nullification of abortion rights by crowds. The meaning of the decision is that harassers can nullify, but the law is restrained from nullifying back.
What's going to be OK now? Erin Matson, who's been a clinic escort and defender, has recounted some of what she's seen:
Chalking a gun on the sidewalk with "What if they used guns?"— Erin Matson (@erintothemax) January 15, 2014
Trucks w images of Dr. Tiller, who was murdered, next to images of doctor in that clinic. Image of blood dripping around names. Subtle, no.— Erin Matson (@erintothemax) January 15, 2014
Another thing they love to do: Get directly in your face and take your picture. Call you names in hopes to catch video of you screaming.— Erin Matson (@erintothemax) January 15, 2014
If this were being done to a despised class of voters, even conservatives would have a hard time arguing that it was no danger to the right to vote. But this is the reality of "sidewalk counseling" -- and a law that restrained it is gone.
And here's another effort to nullify the nullifiers being shot down by the Supreme Court:
In a rebuke to President Barack Obama, the Supreme Court struck down three of his recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board as unconstitutional....The NLRB has been a political football for a while now, but it literally would have ceased functioning without these recess appointments -- which surely was the point of GOP resistance to Obama appointees. As Alicia Bannon of NYU's Brennan Center for Justice wrote in January:
The court ruled 9-0 that Obama's appointments were unconstitutional because the Senate was not truly in recess when he made them during a three-day break in pro forma meetings of the legislative body.
If President Obama had not repeatedly exercised the recess appointment power to maintain an NLRB quorum, its operations would have been paralyzed for approximately two years during his presidency.(The board, which is supposed to have five members, was down to two until a pair of recess appointments by President Obama in 2010; the Supreme Court ruled that year that a two-member NLRB couldn't issue rulings. The recess appointments that led to today's Supreme Court decision happened in 2012.)
Conservative nullification is supposed to be the last word; as soon as countermeasures are taken, that's when the process becomes objectionable. That's what the Court told us today.