About this Case

The city of Pittsburg passed an ordinance that created both a 15-foot buffer zone and a 100-foot bubble zone around hospitals and abortion clinics.  A pro-life protester challenged the ordinance under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment and Pennsylvania’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  In a complicated ruling, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that the combination of the two zones was unconstitutional, while ruling against the protester on some other arguments.

Summary of NLF's Brief

Our brief argued that the ordinance was so vague as to be void, since the protestor could not tell what requirements the ordinance imposed on hr.  Courts call this the “void for vagueness” doctrine and it renders a law or ordinance unconstitutional.  While the court ultimately rejected our argument, it discussed it for 76 lines of its opinion.