Supreme Court OKs Challenge on Law Against Lying

Court also strikes down 'straw man' gun purchases
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 16, 2014 12:12 PM CDT
Supreme Court OKs Challenge on Law Against Lying
This April 29, 2014 file photo shows a visitor to the Supreme Court uses his cellphone to take a photo of the court.   (AP Photo, File)

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously today that an anti-abortion group can challenge an Ohio law that bars people from making false statements about political candidates during a campaign. The high court said the Susan B. Anthony List does not have to wait until it is prosecuted under the law to claim its First Amendment rights have been infringed. The court did not directly rule on the constitutionality of the law, but the decision raises serious doubts about whether the law—and similar measures in more than a dozen other states—can survive. The case began during the 2010 election when the group planned to put up billboards ads accusing then-Rep. Steve Driehaus of supporting taxpayer-funded abortion because he supported President Barack Obama's new health care law. Driehaus, a Democrat who opposes abortion, claimed the ads misrepresented the true facts and therefore violated the false speech law. In other high court news today:

  • A divided court sided with gun control groups and the Obama administration, by upholding the federal ban on "straw" gun purchases. The justices ruled 5-4 that a man could not buy a gun for a relative in Pennsylvania, even though that relative was legally allowed to own guns. Anthony Kennedy joined the court's liberals, who argued in their decision that allowing straw purchasing would make it too easy to evade the various restrictions on gun ownership.
  • The court handed Argentina a double defeat in its long-running fight with holders of its defaulted bonds, rejecting without comment its appeal of judgments ordering it to pay more than $1.3 billion to hedge funds that hold some of the country's bonds. The justices ignored the South American country's pleas that its economy could be threatened if it has to pay off the old debt.
  • The court also dealt a blow to Scottie Pippen, refusing to revive his defamation suit against NBC Universal and other media outlets that had reported that he filed for bankruptcy.
(More US Supreme Court stories.)

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