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U.S. Supreme Court

SCOTUS to consider right to challenge Ohio’s law barring political lies

Posted Jan 13, 2014 9:36 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider the right to challenge an Ohio law that makes it a criminal offense to tell political lies.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Friday to decide whether two conservative groups could challenge the law, USA Today reports. The law bars knowing or reckless false statements about a political candidate or ballot initiative.

One of the groups, the Susan B. Anthony List, is an anti-abortion advocacy group that planned to run a billboard ad accusing a Democratic congressman, Steven Driehaus, of voting for taxpayer-funded abortion. The group was basing its claim on Driehaus’ vote for the Obama administration’s health care law.

The congressman, Steven Driehaus of Cincinnati, had complained to the Ohio state election commission that the group’s charge was false because the health care law required abortions to be funded with nonfederal money. He lost his campaign in 2010 and withdrew his complaint before it was heard. The billboard company never ran the ad because of the threat of litigation.

The other group challenging the law was the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes. The case is the Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus. SCOTUSblog links to the cert petition (PDF).

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