“On Thursday, the Court ruled that women seeking abortions and healthcare in Massachusetts are no longer entitled to the 35 foot buffer zones where they can enter and exit unmolested by right-to-lifers. The plaza between the [Supreme] Court’s entrance and the sidewalk is subject to a number of rules banning activity that ‘is reasonably likely to draw a crowd or onlookers’ and saying these rules are necessary ‘to maintain suitable order and decorum within the Supreme Court building and grounds.’ The plaza is at least five times as big as the 35 foot buffer zone.”
“For a problem shown to arise only once a week in one city at one clinic, creating 35-foot buffer zones at every clinic across the Commonwealth is hardly a narrowly tailored solution,” Roberts said. He wrote the majority opinion after asking no questions – exceedingly rare for him – at the argument in January.
Roberts noted that no other state has a similar law and that he is aware of only five cities that have created fixed buffer zones around abortion clinics: Burlington, Vermont; Pittsburgh; Portland, Maine, and San Francisco and Santa Barbara in California.