FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 2, 2011
Contact: Ciara Matthews, (202) 223-8073
Ex-Congressman Driehaus’ Lawsuit Moves to Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
Washington, D.C. – A federal district court in Cincinnati today granted the Susan B. Anthony List’s motion to allow it to appeal the court’s earlier ruling, which had denied the SBA List’s motion for summary judgment. Former Rep. Steve Driehaus has sued the SBA List for defamation and claims that the organization injured his reputation and caused him “loss of livelihood,” presumably because he was voted out of Congress by the people of his district, after it called attention to his vote for the healthcare reform bill.
The SBA List had asked the court to grant it summary judgment against Driehaus’s defamation claims, but the court denied the motion, instead ruling that a trial was needed to determine if defamation occurred. So the SBA List filed a motion asking to appeal that ruling to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Today, the court granted the SBA List’s motion allowing it to appeal the court’s decision denying summary judgment.
“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 is our opinion, and we continue to maintain, first, that former Representative Driehaus voted to allow for taxpayer funding of abortion when he cast his vote for Obamacare, and second, that we have the right to criticize that action under the First Amendment. We now get to make our arguments on the Constitutional questions at the heart of this case before the Court of Appeals. The fact that we have had to expend vast resources to get to this point is an outrage and we hope our fight will spare others from enduring similar baseless claims. We believe that the Court of Appeals will follow other Courts in protecting our First Amendment rights and end this defamation case.”
James Bopp, Jr., who represents the SBA List, stated that he believed this was the right decision. “Other courts have ruled that the speech of groups like the SBA List, who try to educate the public about the votes of their representatives, is not capable of being defamation. We are hopeful that the Sixth Circuit will reach the same decision.”