Attorneys for the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund and St. Thomas More Society filed a petition for review in the U.S. Supreme Court this afternoon on behalf of pro-life journalist David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress, asking the Court to overturn a Ninth Circuit ruling that is “obliterating” Daleiden’s First Amendment defenses against Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood is suing Daleiden and CMP after they released undercover videos exposing the abortion giant’s selling of baby body parts.
As part of his defense, Daleiden filed an anti-SLAPP (“strategic lawsuits against public participation”) motion against Planned Parenthood. Anti-SLAPP laws protect individuals against powerful interest groups that might sue to intimidate and silence a person, particularly those exposing corruption or illegal actions. When a defendant files an anti-SLAPP motion, the suing party has to prove that it is not trying to suppress the person’s First Amendment rights.
In this case, Daleiden is arguing that Planned Parenthood’s massive lawsuit is nothing more than a massive campaign to silence and destroy him for exposing their illegal fetal tissue trafficking.
“The billion-dollar abortion industry is stopping at nothing to crush David,” said Charles LiMandri, FCDF’s Chief Counsel and counsel of record in the Supreme Court appeal. “The anti-SLAPP laws are designed for cases just like David’s, yet the Ninth Circuit chose to side with the abortionists rather than uphold the law. We hope the Supreme Court recognizes that David should not be punished for exercising his First Amendment rights.”
Daleiden is asking the Court to overturn the Ninth Circuit’s refusal to apply California’s anti-SLAPP law to his case. According to the brief:
“In this high-profile, politically-charged matter, the Ninth Circuit has flip-flopped on its own earlier decision, choosing now to deny disfavored speech the special protection to which it is entitled under state law” and therefore “obliterating defendants’ protections against being dragged through a spurious lawsuit aimed at suppressing the exercise of their First Amendment rights.”
The Supreme Court should make a decision whether to take the case within six months.