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Illinois Website Beats Attempt to Silence its News Coverage

September 12, 2014 | Filed Under 1st Amendment, Chicago, Constitution, Courts, Democrats/Leftists, Ethics, Government, Government Corruption, Illinois, Judges, Law, Liberals, Republicans, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off on


Illinois Website Beats Attempt to Silence its News Coverage

-By Warner Todd Huston

In 2011 a political operative attempted to sue the Illinois news website Illinois Review for “defamation” over one of its stories. This week a federal appeals court issued its final ruling dismissing the lawsuit handing the website a long hoped for victory for free speech.

The Thomas Moore Society was pleased to report that IR emerged the victor in this illicit attempt to silence them saying that Satkar Hospitality Inc. lost its appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. (See decision here)

“We’re very pleased that this blatant attempt to silence aggressive political reporting has been finally rejected by the courts,” Peter Breen, Thomas More Society vice president and senior counsel said in a statement. “Illinois Review has a First Amendment right to speak out on controversial issues, and frivolous lawsuits should not be permitted to shut down their free speech.”

As the statement explained, in April, 2009, Illinois Review published documents of public record showing that former Illinois State Rep. Paul Froehlich sought campaign contributions from individuals who won property tax relief with his assistance. After the story ran, the Cook County Board of Review reversed the tax breaks. Satkar Hospitality, Inc., was one of the companies that Illinois Review reported as having donated to Froehlich’s campaign and later winning a property-tax appeal.

Satkar went on to sue the website for linking them to Froehlich for defamation.

The case was an obvious breach of the Illinois Review’s First Amendment rights and at last the courts have agreed.

“We have laws in this country that protect journalists and affirm the public’s ‘right to know’,” Breen said. “Our courts don’t want to waste time or taxpayer money on whiplash action that is thrown as a cover-up for practices of questionable legality.”

The editors of the Illinois Review, Dennis LaComb and Fran Eaton, thanked Thomas Moore for their help in their defense.

We are deeply grateful to the Thomas More Society, and sincerely thankful for the expertise, assistance, and support that Tom Brejcha, Peter Breen, Tom Olp, and the many attorneys at the Thomas More Society provided us over this long battle to preserve free speech in Illinois. We want our readers to know that Illinois Review will continue to report thanks in no small part to the Thomas More Society and their generous benefactors.

About the Thomas More Society
The Thomas More Society is a not-for-profit, national public interest law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty. Based in Chicago, the Thomas More Society defends and fosters support for these causes by providing high quality pro bono legal services from local trial courts all the way to the United States Supreme Court. thomasmoresociety.org

____________
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

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Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, BigHollywood.com, and BigJournalism.com, as well as RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, Wizbang.com, among many, many others. Huston has also appeared on Fox News, Fox Business Network, CNN, and many local TV shows as well as numerous talk radio shows throughout the country.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.

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