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Groups plan campus protest of justices visit

A coalition of environmental, labor and abortion rights organizations is planning to protest a visit here by U.S. Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia.

Scalia is scheduled to dedicate a new building at Lewis & Clark College's law school on Sunday.

The organizations Ñ operating under the name NW Justice Coalition Ñ plan to hold a rally and information fair on the college campus during Scalia's visit.

'This is an opportunity to call people to action on a variety of issues,' said Kathleen Sullivan, executive director of the Oregon chapter of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, one of the groups involved in the coalition.

According to Sullivan, the organizations are angry at Scalia for his role in stopping the Florida presidential election recount, his views on abortion and the general pro-business tone of the Bush administration.

Lewis & Clark President Michael Mooney says it is an honor for a Supreme Court justice to come to the campus. 'There are only nine of them,' he said with a chuckle.

At the same time, Mooney concedes that Scalia is controversial.

'Some of our students and faculty members have also raised these issues,' he said.

Because Lewis & Clark is a private college, Mooney could prohibit the protesters from the campus during the visit. Instead, he is working with protest organizers to keep the event peaceful.

'This is not Pioneer Square,' Mooney said. 'At the same time, I'd rather have a peaceful gathering on campus than a demonstration in the street.'

Moody and protest organizers have agreed to hold the rally and fair several hundred yards from the Pamplin Sports Center, where Scalia will be speaking at 3 p.m. The rally is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m.

Mooney said the college also is in contact with the U.S. Marshals Service and the Portland Police Bureau.

Scalia is coming to Portland to dedicate the Louise and Erskine Wood Jr. Hall, the newest addition to the Northwestern School of Law.

Contact Jim Redden at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .