On January 25, U.S. District Court Timothy S. Black, an Obama appointee, rejected the defamation lawsuit filed in 2010 by former Ohio Congressman Steve Driehaus. Here is the 7-page opinion, Susan B. Anthony List v Driehaus, 1:10-cv-720, southern district. Congressman Driehaus, who had represented Cincinnati, had been defeated in November 2010. He then sued the Susan B. Anthony List, an organization that fights legal abortion, because the List had threatened to erect billboards in the district before the election that would have said, “Shame on Steve Driehaus! Driehaus voted for taxpayer-funded abortions.”
The billboards were never actually erected, because the List had been threatened with prosecution. Ohio election law, since 1995, has said, “No person, during the course of any campaign for nomination or election to public office, shall knowingly…make a false statement concerning the voting record of a candidate or public official.” The List had responded by filing a federal lawsuit against that Ohio law, but when that did not succeed, Driehaus had filed his own lawsuit, arguing that the List had defamed him and caused him loss of livelihood. That is the lawsuit that has just been dismissed. Judge Black determined that the proposed billboard was not defamatory.
When this case had first been filed, Judge Black had been criticized because he had not recused himself, because he was President and Director of Planned Parenthood in Cincinnati before he was a federal judge. Thanks to Rick Hasen for the link to the January 25, 2013 decision.