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APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS [Hon. Edward F. Harrington, U.S. District Judge]

This appeal – in which we have the benefit of exemplary briefing by the parties and the various amici – requires us to reconcile a triad of state interests (protecting public health, maintaining public safety, and preserving access to medical facilities) with the First Amendment interests of those who challenge restrictions on how they may debate issues of public concern. We act in the context of a Massachusetts statute, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266, � 120E� (the Act), which creates a floating six-foot buffer zone around pedestrians and motor vehicles as they approach reproductive health care facilities (RHCFs). We view that statute through the prism of Hill v. Colorado, 530 U.S. 703 (2000), in which the United States Supreme Court upheld an analogous statute despite the fact that it incidentally restricted some speech.

The district court found meaningful distinctions between the Act and the Colorado statute at issue in Hill, determined that these distinctions undermined the constitutionality of the Act, and preliminarily enjoined the Act’s enforcement. See McGuire v. Reilly, 122 F. Supp. 2d 97, 101-03 (D. Mass. 2000). But the distinctions noted by the district court do not make a dispositive difference. Hill controls, and the Act, on its face, lawfully regulates the time, place, and manner of speech without discriminating based on content or viewpoint. Accordingly, we reverse the district court’s ukase.

 
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