This article first appeared online at World Net Daily on November 03, 2011.
Politician’s claim of ‘defamation’ pushed to appeals court:
Congressman who lost re-election bid alleging he was damaged by criticism
By Bob Unruh
A federal judge has pushed the “defamation” claim by a politician who was defeated during the 2010 election to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, today granting permission to the Susan B. Anthony List organization to try to argue the opinions it expressed about former Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus were protected.
The organization had issued news releases criticizing the reportedly pro-life Driehaus for voting for Obamacare and stating its objections were to the abortion funding. Driehaus sued, claiming he lost his reputation and income because he was not re-elected following the criticism.
Driehaus lost in 2010 to former U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot. During the campaign, the Democratic Party pulled its financial support for television ads when Driehaus fell behind.
According to the SBA List, Driehaus filed a criminal complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission first, under a statute that carried a penalty of jail time. He later decided to advance the defamation case instead.
The focal point of the dispute is whether Obamacare funds abortions. The judge said he looked and couldn’t find any provision. But his ruling was anything but clear.
“Whether it is possible … that the PPACA would not prevent taxpayer funded abortion is entirely different from providing for ‘taxpayer funded abortion.’ The express language of the PPACA does not provide for taxpayer funded abortion,” he wrote.
“The SBA List’s speech was true, or at the very least it was its protected opinion about the meaning of Obamacare,” said James Bopp Jr., the counsel for SBA List. “Yet the court found that the SBA List’s speech about Driehaus might be defamatory and ordered a trial to determine whether it is or not.”
The SBA List today announced that the judge granted its motion to allow it to appeal the earlier ruling that denied a request for a summary judgment. The effect of that ruling was that there would have been a trial needed to determine if the politician was damaged by not being re-elected after an organization criticized him.
“We are very pleased with this latest action from the court and look forward to arguing our case in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser president of the Susan B. Anthony List. “In his decision, Judge Black wrote ‘there is substantial ground for difference of opinion’ in our case, and he is certainly right.”
It was Judge Timothy S. Black, who owes his lifetime appointment to Barack Obama, who previously concluded that the pro-life organization might be guilty of defamation.
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