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National Organization for Women, Inc. v. Scheidler

United States Supreme Court
510 U.S. 249 (1994)


Facts

The National Organization for Women, Inc. (NOW) (plaintiff) is a nonprofit organization that supports the right to obtain an abortion. Joseph Scheidler and the Pro-Life Action Network (PLAN) (defendants) are part of an association of groups and individuals that opposes abortion. NOW, together with two clinics that offer abortion services, sued Scheidler and PLAN in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois based on the conduct of antiabortion protesters at the clinics. NOW alleged that Scheidler and PLAN conspired to shut down the clinics and prevent abortions through the threat of force, actual force, and fear. Specifically, NOW contended that PLAN constituted a racketeering enterprise within the meaning of § 1962(c) of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. The district court dismissed the case. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that the term enterprise under § 1962(c) required proof of an economic motive and that because PLAN had no such motive, it was not an enterprise under § 1962(c). Certiorari was granted.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, C.J.)

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