Susan B. Anthony List Petitions Supreme Court for Right to Lie in Political Ads


In preparation for the upcoming midterm and 2016 presidential elections, anti-choice groups are hoping to do to political speech what they did to political spending—upend it altogether.

As reported in The Hill, the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) plans to ask the Supreme Court to review an Ohio law that prohibits false political speech. The “false statements” law prohibits false attacks on political candidates, including untruthful and inaccurate representations of their voting records. Ohio’s false statements law was used to block the group from putting up billboards accusing then-Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-OH) of voting for taxpayer funding of abortion because he supported the Affordable Care Act. Taxpayer funding of abortion is prohibited by federal law.

The SBA List argues the law’s prohibition on lying or presenting misrepresentations in political ads is an unconstitutional limit on the group’s political free-speech rights. “The Ohio Election Commission statute demonstrates complete disregard for the constitutional right of people to criticize their elected officials,” SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement.

Defenders of the law assert there is no constitutional right to mislead the public and that the law serves an important public good in helping to maintain clean and fair elections.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit rejected the SBA List’s attempt to challenge the Ohio law on First Amendment grounds. The SBA List is asking the Supreme Court to revisit that decision, but there’s no indication yet the court will do so.

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  • OGalaxy

    Shameless.

  • Jitterbits

    Don’t they believe in what they’re fighting for? If you don’t think something can stand on its own merits, why support it in the first place?

    • Transplanted ‘Nuck

      They’re just not bright. They believe the ACA provides funding for abortions, which it doesn’t, so they want to say something that’s untrue factually, but they don’t believe the facts.

      • Ross Thompson

        No, they claim the ACA provides funding for abortions. That’s very different from believing it.

  • AFV

    They already do. Politicians lie by default. The only politician in my life who wasn’t a liar was Jimmy Carter. Don’t know why SBA thinks they need permission to lie.

  • Valde

    They believe that lying is moral if it is in service of a greater cause.

  • dora wiilliams

    Susan B. Anthony must be turning over in her grave. This group is denigrating her name.

  • xuinkrbin.

    Well, if the legal guarantee of freedom of speech means anything, I suppose it includes the guarantee of a right to political speech Someone might consider a lie. Otherwise, We get into the murky issue of a (possibly) undesired Judge deciding what is and is not fact. As an illustration, Anyone here actually want Justices Thomas and Scalia, or Judges of similar ideology, deciding what is fact or fiction? Especially when it comes to abortion?