Ending nearly 20 years of litigation, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that the federal Hobbs Act does not outlaw the kind of violence that anti-abortion protesters have used to block access to abortion clinics nationwide.

The 8-0 ruling in Scheidler v. National Organization for Women blunts a tool that clinics have used to win large financial damages against clinic protesters. NOW and other abortion rights supporters have invoked both the Hobbs Act and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act against aggressive clinic protesters.

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