Earlier this month, the First Circuit Court of Appeals held that a group of abortion protesters did not have standing to challenge a New Hampshire buffer zone law. The First Circuit’s decision affirmed a decision by the federal district court, which we reported on last summer.
The law in question prohibited protesters from entering within 25 feet of the entrance to a reproductive health care facility. Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in McCullen v. Coakley, enforcement of the New Hampshire law was stayed. A group of protesters filed suit anyway, but the district court found that the plaintiffs had suffered no injury since the law had not been enforced and was not likely to be enforced against them.
The First Circuit agreed with the district court that, because injury was not imminent, the group of protesters lacked standing. The appeals court also held that the challenge was not ripe, as the court could not meaningfully decide the case and there was no prejudice to the plaintiffs if they were required to wait until their claims ripen.