Earthjustice Praises Introduction of Federal Anti-SLAPP Legislation
Today, Representative Jamie Raskin (MD-08) introduced the SLAPP Protection Act to help end the use of strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP) suits and provide targets of frivolous lawsuits with mechanisms to quickly dismiss them in federal court. SLAPP suits are baseless lawsuits used by the wealthy and powerful corporations to silence dissent and often target journalists, activists, protesters, and others speaking in public forums from exercising their first amendment rights. While 32 states and the District of Columbia currently have anti-SLAPP laws, there is no current federal statute. After the bill’s introduction, Earthjustice Legislative Director for the Access to Justice Program Coby Dolan issued the following statement:
Protected speech and the right to protest are emblematic of our country’s democracy, and courts must uphold that right for everyone. SLAPP suits put this sacred right at risk and allow the wealthy and powerful corporations to coopt our court system for their own personal gain to evade accountability and suppress the voices of everyday people. Our courts must be accessible, affordable, and open to everyone, and this legislation will allow the judicial system to quickly identify and dismiss SLAPP suits that unfairly target the first amendment protections of dissenting voices. We thank Rep. Raskin for recognizing the need for a federal anti-SLAPP statute and will work alongside him to ensure the power to protest is protected in all states and U.S. territories.”
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