NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN (NOW) v. SCHEIDLER

Print this Page
Case Basics
Docket No. 
92-780
Petitioner 
National Organization for Women (NOW)
Respondent 
Scheidler
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the United States as amicus curiae urging reversal)
(Argued the cause for the petitioners)
(Argued the cause for the respondents)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

The National Organization for Women (NOW) sued a coalition of anti-abortion groups called the Pro-Life Action Network (PLAN) under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. N.O.W. alleged that Scheidler and other anti-abortion protesters were members in a nationwide conspiracy to obstruct women's access to abortion clinics through a pattern of racketeering activity including the actual or implied threat of violence. The District Court dismissed the suit, holding that the voluntary contributions are not proceeds of racketeering and that a "racketeering enterprise" must have an economic motive, a fact that NOW could not demonstrate. The Court of Appeals affirmed and the Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Question 

Does RICO require that an organization, to be defined as a racketeering enterprise, must be acting in pursuit of an economic motive?

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for National Organization for Women (NOW), 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations

The unanimous Court held that organizations without an economic motive can detrimentally "affect interstate or foreign commerce," satisfying the RICO definition of a racketeering enterprise. An "enterprise" does not have to be an economic organization or a principally criminal organization to trigger the RICO act. Consequently, the Court reversed the appeals court decision which allowed the original case to proceed.

Cite this Page
NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN (NOW) v. SCHEIDLER. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 14 August 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1993/1993_92_780>.
NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN (NOW) v. SCHEIDLER, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1993/1993_92_780 (last visited August 14, 2014).
"NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN (NOW) v. SCHEIDLER," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 14, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1993/1993_92_780.