The Catholic University of America



Supreme Court to Hear Case Co-Litigated by Professor Mark Rienzi


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Catholic University law school Professor Mark Rienzi will argue a case before the United States Supreme Court on Wednesday, January 15.

Last summer, the court agreed to hear McCullen v. Coakley, a First Amendment case that has consumed much of the constitutional law professor's time since he began representing the plaintiffs on a pro bono basis in 2008. 
The Court will review the constitutionality of a Massachusetts law that creates a 35-foot “buffer zone” restricting pro-life advocates from speaking with people entering abortion facilities. The zone restriction was signed into law in 2007 by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.
Opponents of the law, including Eleanor McCullen (left) shown outside of a  Planned Parenthood clinic, argue it creates create censorship zones in public areas that are designed to stamp out constitutionally protected speech.
Professor Rienzi originally engaged with the case when Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed the lawsuit. Today, he is lead counsel in the case alongside attorneys with the Washington, D.C. firm Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale & Dorr, LLP.
“I represent peaceful pro-life grandmothers who want to stand on the sidewalk and offer alternative options to women going to the clinic,” said Rienzi.

Oral arguments in McCullen v. Coakley are scheduled for 10 a.m.