FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 5, 2014
Contact: Mallory Quigley, 202-223-8073
Pro-life Group Petitions SCOTUS to Allow Challenge to Ohio Statute that Chills Free Speech
WASHINGTON, DC – Twenty-one amicus briefs have been filed on behalf of the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) in the group’s Supreme Court case Susan B. Anthony List v. Steven Driehaus. SBA List is petitioning the high court to allow their First Amendment challenge to Ohio’s “false statement” law to proceed on the grounds that the statute criminalizes “false” political speech and empowers a state agency to determine what constitutes true or false political speech. Oral arguments are scheduled for April 22, 2014.
In an outpouring of support for the SBA List’s freedom of speech, 21 amicus briefs have been submitted from:
Alliance Defending Freedom
Bioethics Defense Fund
Cato Institute & P.J. O’Rourke
Center for Competitive Politics
Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence
Christian Legal Society
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)
First Amendment Lawyers Association
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine
Government Integrity Fund
Institute for Justice, et al
Justice and Freedom Fund
Seventh Day Adventists
Southeastern Legal Foundation
Student Press Law Center
1851 Center for Constitutional Law
“Our founders braved the threat of the gallows so that we would not have to fear speaking our true convictions. What is a chill of speech? In a word it is fear – fear that speech may land one in jail or subject the speaker to ruinous fines,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of Susan B. Anthony List. “As a wife and mother of five I can tell you that the fear of imprisonment and crippling fines has been real.
“We hope to see our First Amendment rights affirmed by the Court so that, headed into the 2014 senate elections, we may expose the truth about Obamacare and those who support it,” Dannenfelser concluded.
Background: Since 2010, now former Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-OH) has sought to use the Ohio statute against the SBA List. The group attempted to erect billboards in his district during the 2010 election cycle to educate constituents about his vote in support of taxpayer funding abortion by voting for the Affordable Care Act but was prevented from doing so because of the Ohio law. The SBA List was also threatened with prosecution if it engaged in similar speech about Driehaus or other candidates. Nevertheless, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the SBA List could not challenge the Ohio law under the First Amendment.
The Susan B. Anthony List, and its affiliated Political Action Committees, the SBA List Candidate Fund and Women Speak Out PAC, are dedicated to pursuing policies and electing candidates who will reduce and ultimately end abortion. To that end, the SBA List emphasizes the education, promotion, mobilization, and election of pro-life women. The SBA List is a network of more than 365,000 pro-life Americans nationwide.