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Chicago’s Thomas More Society appeals to US Supreme Court in defense of prolife journalist’s 1st Amendment rights

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Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 10.59.30 AMCHICAGO – Chicago's Thomas More Society responded Wednesday to the Ninth Circuit Federal Court refusing to dismiss Planned Parenthood's lawsuit against videographer David Dalieden. According to a press release, the non-profit legal group is appealing to the US Supreme Court on behalf of Dalieden's First Amendment rights. 

Attorneys from the Thomas More Society asked the United States Supreme Court to review a decision of the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals that denied their motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood against pro-life videographer David Daleiden. Daleiden is the 29-year-old undercover journalist who exposed Planned Parenthood’s trafficking of aborted babies’ body parts, who now finds himself under attack by Planned Parenthood and much of the abortion industry.

The Thomas More Society is asking the high court to apply California’s Anti-SLAPP statute to dismiss Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit and vindicate Dalieden. The statute gives defendants the ability to quickly end Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, known as “SLAPP” lawsuits.

“Anti-SLAPP statutes prohibit lawsuits that are intended to silence advocates for justice by intimidating them, wearing them out, and bankrupting them until they will abandon their advocacy,” said Thomas More Society Special Counsel Sarah Pitlyk. “Planned Parenthood’s goals will have been accomplished if either we surrender to intimidation, mounting legal costs, or simple exhaustion and abandon the cause. California and more than 30 other states have anti-SLAPP statutes because SLAPP lawsuits are, by definition, attempts to violate the free speech rights of the Defendants in those lawsuits. Of course, neither we nor David will ever surrender!”

By allowing the lawsuit to proceed,  the Ninth Circuit has exacerbated a widening split of opinion among the Circuits and allowed Planned Parenthood an “end run” around the First Amendment.

“The panel of judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals who decided this case are out of step with their peers in the First, Fifth, Tenth, and D.C. Circuits,” explained Pitlyk. “Almost a dozen Planned Parenthood affiliates joined together to file a SLAPP lawsuit in an attempt to silence young  David and stifle his First Amendment free speech rights. The Ninth Circuit has erred badly and we’re asking the Supreme Court to decide the issue once and for all and, in doing so, resolve the circuit split in our favor, deliver justice to David, and preserve the free speech rights of all Americans.”

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