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Court dismissed ex-Congressman's defamation suit against pro-life group

January 29, 2013

A federal court in Ohio has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a former Congressman against a pro-life activist group.

Former US Rep. Steve Driehaus, an Ohio Democrat, had charged that the Susan B. Anthony List was responsible for his “loss of livelihood” because he was defeated in a 2010 election. The pro-life group had threatened to post billboards accusing Driehaus of support for taxpayer-funded abortion, because he had voted in favor of President Obama’s health-care reform bill. Although the billboards were never posted, Driehaus, who identified himself as pro-life, said that the charge cost him the election.

Judge Timothy Black said that the charge by the Susan B. Anthony List could not be characterized as defamation. In the heat of political battle, he said, adversaries regularly issue charges against their opponents, and voters are left to weigh the competing claims of different individuals and groups. He concluded: “Ultimately, in a free society, the truth of political back and forth must be adjudicated in the ‘marketplace of ideas.”


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