It was this 2010 billboard ad by the Susan B. Anthony List against then-Congressman Steve Driehaus that started it (click to enlarge)…

driehaus-billboard22

Driehaus was a supposedly pro-life Democrat who voted for Obamacare.

Driehaus went on to lose his race to pro-life Republican Steve Chabot, only to turn around and file a complaint with the Ohio Election Commission, accusing SBA list of fraudulent advertising that resulted in his defeat. This despite the fact Obamacare indeed funds abortions.

Driehaus dropped that complaint only to file a federal complaint of defamation.

timothy-blackJudge Timothy Black, pictured right, who had been nominated by President Obama, and who was a previous president of the Planned Parenthood Association of Cincinnati, initially moved the case forward in 2011.

Kristen Day, president of Democrats for Life, became involved by filing affidavits that (inaccurately) betrayed private meetings and conversations with pro-life groups and leaders and also issued a press release praising the lawsuit. This action by DFL resulted in its being shunned by the pro-life community, which justly believes it cannot trust Day.

Conversely, the ACLU took SBA List’s side. Nevertheless the lawsuit negatively impacted SBA List’s efforts in the 2012 campaign, when Lamar Companies refused to erect its billboards.

Yesterday, SBA List was vindicated. Reported Coast on January 26:

Interestingly, Black initially saw merit in the Driehaus arguments and denied summary judgment to the SBA List.  That decision is here.  But in the meantime, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in U.S. v. Alvarez in which the notion that government can stand in judgment of the truth or falsity of statements, and punish false statements was rejected under the First Amendment….

This Alvarez decision apparently was enough to convince Black that Driehaus defamation counterclaim was not well founded under First Amendment principles.

Comment from SBA List:

“While we’re pleased with the outcome, this was a protracted legal battle that was taxing on our resources and should never have happened in a country that enshrines free speech,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of SBA List. “The blatant disregard for the First Amendment and the Constitutional right of people to speak out against the actions of those elected to represent them is unacceptable.”