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Constitutionality of Proscriptions on False Statements About Candidates

Robert Timothy Reagan, Margaret S. Williams, Marie Leary, Catherine R. Borden, Jessica L. Snowden, Patricia D. Breen, Jason A. Cantone
May 5, 2018
Available Online Only

Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus (1:10-cv-720) and Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending & Taxes v. Ohio Elections Commission (1:10-cv-754) (Timothy S. Black and Susan J. Dlott, S.D. Ohio)
Two actions filed in late October 2010 challenged the constitutionality of an Ohio statute proscribing false statements about candidates for office. The judge in the first case stayed the federal case pending state executive and judicial proceedings, pursuant to Younger v. Harris. The judge in the second case also denied immediate injunctive relief, and the two cases were consolidated for further proceedings after the election. Dismissals for lack of live controversies were reversed by the Supreme Court. The court of appeals affirmed a holding that the statute was unconstitutional, and it affirmed dismissal of a candidate’s defamation counterclaim. The parties agreed to an attorney fee award of $1.3 million.
Subject: Campaign activities. Topics: Campaign materials; matters for state courts; recusal; case assignment; interlocutory appeal; attorney fees.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.