Add another wrinkle to the insanity that is the 2014 midterms: Courts will still be deciding whether states have the right to restrict "false" campaign ads.
The Supreme Court on Monday ducked the biggest questions in a potentially significant First Amendment case about political attack ads and how state governments can regulate them. But it said those issues should continue to play out in lower courts.
This all started with an anti-Obamacare billboard in 2010. The Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion-rights group, wanted to put up a billboard attacking then-Rep. Steve Driehaus over his vote for the Affordable Care Act. "Shame on Steve Driehaus! Driehaus voted FOR taxpayer-funded abortion," the billboard read.
Driehaus said the attack was false, and his state — Ohio — bans false ads.
SBA List never put up the billboard in question, but it challenged the Ohio law as unconstitutional. State governments have no business deciding what can be said in a political campaign, or serving as the arbiters of what's true or false, SBA List argued.
A federal appeals court tossed out SBA List's suit on procedural grounds. The Supreme Court reversed that decision in a unanimous ruling Monday, saying the suit can proceed.