Cincinnati, OH, August 3, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - On Monday, an Obama-nominated federal judge ruled that former Ohio Congressman Steve Driehaus may proceed with his defamation suit against a prominent pro-life group. Driehaus claims the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List contributed to his 2010 election cycle defeat to Republican Steve Chabot.
Following the ruling by Judge Thomas Black, nominated by President Barack Obama in December 2009 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in May 2010, Driehaus’ attorney, Paul De Marco, told FoxNews.com that the complaint stems from statements and planned October 2010 advertisements claiming Driehaus, who considered himself a pro-life lawmaker, voted for “taxpayer-funded abortion” when he backed the Affordable Care Act.
De Marco explained, “I don’t know what other public officials decide to put up with, but Steve Driehaus decided he wasn’t going to put up with lies that went to the heart of his core beliefs and damaged his reputation”.
Monday’s ruling to allow the defamation lawsuit against the SBA List to move forward stemmed from the judge’s decision that the Affordable Care Act does not provide for taxpayer funding of abortion.
The legal saga of Driehaus’ conflict with the SBA List dates back to October 6, 2010, when then Congressman Driehaus filed a legal complaint against the SBA List with the Ohio Elections Commission (OEC). On November 16, he withdrew the complaint, giving the appearance that the issue was over.
However, when the OEC granted his request to withdraw the complaint on December 2, Driehaus filed his defamation lawsuit later that day. As previously reported by LifeSiteNews, the suit “was filed soon after a federal judge in Virginia ruled that opponents of the Affordable Care Act did not convincingly demonstrate that the national health care law would fund abortion”.
SBA List Executive Director Emily Buchanan told LifeSiteNews that while the billboards in Driehaus’s district never went up, the SBA List did put up similar billboards in the districts of former Pennsylvania Congresswoman Kathy and of Indiana Congressman Joe Donnelly.
“The abortion issue was the pivot point for the passage or failure of the entire bill,” she continued. “With the exception of Rep. Dan Lipinski, the ‘pro-life’ Democrats chose a last-minute fig leaf - an Executive Order that fails to address the accounting gimmick and can be rescinded at any time- and voted for the exact same bill that they had so vigorously opposed.”
James Bopp, Jr., Counsel for the SBA List, stated to LifeSiteNews that the “SBA List’s speech was true, or at the very least it was protected opinion about the meaning of Obamacare.” He added, “This ruling means that anybody criticizing a candidate is in danger of a defamation claim.”