This is big. Putting an end to a long and unnecessary battle, The Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) just won a two year court battle with former Rep. Steve Driehaus on First Amendment grounds.
You might remember that Driehaus threw a hissy, wet himself, and threatened to throw fecal matter at passers by after he lost his re-election. He blamed the SBA-List because they accurately pointed out that he voted for Obamacare which included taxpayer funding of abortion. And he literally sued the pro-life organization for “loss of livelihood.”
Talk about the entitlement mentality. A guy lost an election and sued for loss of livelihood. But the worst part was yet to come. Driehaus actually won in some lower courts.
The thing is, this was never about Driehaus at all. This had everything to do with silencing one of the great pro-life organizations in this country. Driehaus was attempting to sue the SBA-List out of existence.
“While we’re pleased with the outcome, this was a protracted legal battle that was taxing on our resources and should never have happened in a country that enshrines free speech,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of SBA List. “The blatant disregard for the First Amendment and the Constitutional right of people to speak out against the actions of those elected to represent them is unacceptable.”
The judge in the case that finally decided with the SBA-List said previous rulings missed the forest for the trees. He said:
“Notwithstanding all of this, the Court’s prior analysis is sound to a degree; when one walks through the elements of a claim for defamation, the required allegations are present here. However, that precise and robotic analysis of each of the factors required for defamation caused the Court to focus only on the trees and ultimately not to see the forest. Here, the forest is the right to free speech under the First Amendment, even false speech, when it applies to politics.”
You want to know how wacky Driehaus’ lawsuit was? The ACLU in Ohio actually filed an amicus brief in favor of The SBA-List. Do you know how much that must have hurt them to side with pro-lifers?
Dannenfelser said, “Driehaus was originally opposed to the health care bill because it did not contain specific language preventing the funding of abortion, and that has not changed. The bill still lacks the necessary safeguards Driehaus said needed to be in place for him to support the legislation, and yet he voted for it. We made the voters in his district aware of his vote and there is nothing defaming about that.”
The SBA-List fought a fight that needed fighting. And won. If they’d given up, every time a pro-life organization attempted to speak out they would’ve been the recipient of lawsuits aimed at silencing them. The country is better off for the efforts of The SBA-List. CMR kudos to them.