Determined whether a city ordinance that prohibited targeted residential picketing, which was enacted based on extensive evidence of intrusive picketing outside homes of abortion providers, violated the First Amendment rights of the picketers.
This case involved a constitutional challenge by two anti-choice activists against Bangor, Maine's residential picketing ordinance. The activists were charged with violating the ordinance, which prohibited targeted picketing within 300 feet of a residence. The Bangor City Council passed the ordinance following four months of testimony demonstrating incidents of intrusive picketing of reproductive health care providers' homes. In an unusual procedural posture, the presiding trial court judge denied the City an opportunity to brief the constitutional issues and subsequently struck down the ordinance as unconstitutional. The City appealed the case to the Maine Superior Court.
Legal Momentum filed an amicus brief on behalf of reproductive health care providers and women's organizations in support of the ordinance's constitutionality. Legal Momentum's brief highlighted the extensive record before the Bangor City Council demonstrating the need for the ordinance, including residents' concerns for their safety and privacy, and testimony regarding the appropriate size of the restricted picketing zone. Our brief also discussed the nationwide problem of anti€‘choice harassment and intimidation, pointing out that several localities across the country had responded to this crisis through the enactment of local residential picketing and buffer zone laws. Nonetheless, the Superior Court upheld the District Court's decision, finding Bangor's residential picketing ordinance unconstitutional. The New York law firm of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson served as pro bono cooperating counsel on the brief.