Former Congressman Steve Driehaus, whose suit against the Susan B. Anthony List was dismissed last month, has filed an appeal against the pro-life organization.
Driehaus, a Catholic and Democrat who won the traditionally Republican seat by running as pro-life and a fiscal conservative, sued the SBA List for defamation and loss of livelihood after losing the 2010 election to Steve Chabot.
The SBA List, an advocacy group that supports pro-life political candidates (to counter the pro-abortion group Emily’s List), urged pro-life voters not to vote for him because he voted for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Like almost all pro-life groups, the SBA List contends that the ACA will eventually fund abortions.
Driehaus is one of the “Stupak 13” group of Democrats who voted for the ACA after President Obama signed an executive order barring it from funding abortions. The law does not contain any prohibitions against funding abortion, and executive orders can be rescinded at any time.
The SBA List held rallies and told its members and supporters that Driehaus and six other Democrats running for reelection were “sellouts” because they voted for the law despite pledging not to if it funded abortion.
Initially sympathetic to Driehaus’s argument, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black eventually ruled against him, saying that political free speech protects a political opponent from charges of defamation — and that, in any case, the claims do not amount to defamation because they are “substantially true,” something that reasonable people might consider true even if other reasonable people do not.
“His vote for ‘Obamacare’ lost him his seat,” says SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “We made sure that the people of Ohio knew about his real record, and he blamed us for ruining his career! Now he’s appealing the court’s commonsense decision against his nonsense lawsuit. “
The suit, she says, costs the SBA List time and money to fight, and defies both the American right to free speech and the political process. “He’s using the federal court system to attempt to restrict our constitutional right to free speech and to prevent us from holding elected officials accountable for the way they vote,” she says.
Lawyers for Driehaus, who moved to Africa to do charity work soon after losing the election, filed the appeal Feb. 21st.
Please use the “share” buttons to forward this story to friends — and please subscribe at the box at the top of the page to get our stories daily in your inbox.