Madsen v. Women's Health Center, Inc. Page 21

Madsen v. Women's Health Center, Inc. general information

Media for Madsen v. Women's Health Center, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 28, 1994 in Madsen v. Women's Health Center, Inc.

Mathew D. Staver:

It criminalizes their side of the debate.

This particular case is certainly coming to this Court with a heavy presumption against constitutional validity.

It is a touchstone of First Amendment regulation to be very precise, not overkill.

This injunction is overkill.

As in Claiborne Hardware, that injunction was overkill.

As in Near, that injunction was a prior restraint.

This injunction, instead of using a surgeon's scalpel, cuts with a butcher's knife.

This injunction restrains Judy Madsen's speech from being able to distribute a piece of literature which is not offensive or distressing to anyone forever, within the 36-foot zone.

Judy Madsen can never lawfully be present on a public sidewalk, public highway, or right-of-way, period, under this injunction.

Judy Madsen must censor her speech when she goes within the 36-foot zone.

Despite page 375 of the Joint Appendix, where respondent specifically said, Judy Madsen had never been a target of the contempt proceedings, yet she's still a part of this injunction.

The clinic and the court below impermissibly lumped her protected speech with some other unknown--

John Paul Stevens:

Are you arguing that if she had been the president of Operation Rescue and said, I believe in everything they're doing and I want to help them as much as I can, there'd be a different result?

Mathew D. Staver:

--If she were, Justice Stevens, condoning and orchestrating this?

John Paul Stevens:


Mathew D. Staver:

She was not a target of the contempt in any respect.

John Paul Stevens:

But I'm asking you, if she were, if she said, I agree with everything they do, I want to help them as much as I can, would she then lose her... the rights you're describing?

Mathew D. Staver:

No, Justice Stevens.

John Paul Stevens:

Then I don't really understand what difference it makes if you've got Judy Madsen rather than the president of the organization.

Mathew D. Staver:

I believe on page 920 of this Court's decision in Claiborne Hardware, it says that to restrain those illegal activities for individuals, not simply because they're members of a group.

Judy Madsen did no illegal activity.

Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.

William H. Rehnquist:

Thank you, Mr. Staver, the case is submitted.