Anthony group promises lies

Published 10:31 am Friday, June 27, 2014

If you think you have seen everything tasteless about the political world, guess again. There seems to be a limitless amount of chicanery and some of it would baffle Solomon, for it is so not about wisdom or virtue.

This session the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the lower court case Susan B. Anthony v. Driehaus has enough basis in potential future legal exposure to advance in the lower courts. The case has been returned to court but still must meet all other legal requirements including evidence of Standing.

Standing means that, in order to litigate a party must have a personal exposure to loss or risk, so Susan B. Anthony must, in this case, demonstrate that it has lied in the past and intends to lie again in the future.

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Yes that is the case, the First Amendment protection of the right to lie in the public sphere.

The origin of Anthony v. Driehaus began when Driehaus, an Ohio conservative Democrat, ran for office. The Anthony group, favoring a Republican candidate, advertised that Driehaus was pro-abortion because Driehaus had, in 2010, voted for the Affordable Care Act.

Driehaus had strongly held an anti-abortion public position and argued that his vote was for the total of the ACA, not to support federally funded abortions. Therefore he complained to the Ohio Board of Elections that Anthony was violating an Ohio law that prohibits lying about a candidate’s voting record during an election cycle.

The Board of Elections ruled in favor of Driehaus, demanded an end to the false advertisement, and that might have ended the story.

Except Susan B. Anthony decided that it fully intended to lie in the future about voting records, should such lies benefit candidates the group might support in future elections. And if lies were prohibited it could not conduct its election affairs in the manner it thought best for the organization and the candidates it supports.

So Susan B. Anthony went to court. Anthony admitted it lied about its claim in Driehaus, but argued the First Amendment right of free speech protects its right to lie in any and all circumstances. Further, Anthony argued, Ohio and potentially the other 14 states with similar laws, were violating this constitutional right.

And that is what the U.S. Supreme Court decided, that Anthony, given its proclivity to lie, would doubtlessly find itself in a similar situation in the future and therefore had the right to present their case in court.

Now lying in politics is certainly nothing new. Some candidates might find themselves speechless without the capability of defining their opponent through statements that stretch creditability.

But openly promising to lie in the public sphere and demanding the right to do so with legal protection for campaign lies, that is a new and interesting twist in our political scene.

Susan B. Anthony was founded to advance the election of women in politics. But somewhere among its past the organization shifted so much so that it now most often supports radically conservative Republican male candidates, many of whom advance social policies not supported by a majority of women.

In short, Susan B. Anthony is not exactly honoring its founder’s name and life story by its current activities, or by its promise to lie in election cycles.

One has to wonder why anyone would ever again believe Susan B. Anthony, given they have now promised their words will contain lies in the future.


Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.