The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled unanimously in favor of a political group that attacked a Democratic member of Congress during the 2010 election cycle over his support for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The court said the petitioners in the case, Susan B. Anthony List et al. vs. Driehaus (Case Number 13-193), can challenge an Ohio state law that makes lying during an election campaign a criminal offense.
A U.S. District Court ruled earlier that the political groups had not shown the state law would hurt their ability to express themselves. The court said the groups could not yet try to fight the law in federal court.
The 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals agreed with the lower court that the case was not yet ripe for federal court action. The Supreme Court held that the case is ripe enough for the petitioners to qualify for federal court review under Article III of the U.S. Constitution, which governs when the federal courts can intervene in “cases” and “controversies.”
“Denying prompt judicial review would impose a substantial hardship on petitioners, forcing them to choose between refraining from core political speech on the one hand and risking costly [election] commission proceedings and criminal prosecution on the other,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in an opinion for the court.