Supreme Court Keeps Daleiden Gag Order in Place


Earlier this week, the Supreme Court convened to consider whether to review Daleiden v. National Abortion Federation. This is a First Amendment case involving David Daleiden’s right to publish additional videos taken at NAF’s annual conferences. In earlier videos, Planned Parenthood directors were shown negotiating the sale of baby body parts for profit, which is a federal crime.

The Daleiden videos have resulted in numerous state and federal investigations of Planned Parenthood, NAF’s most powerful member and the nation’s largest abortion provider. NAF sued Daleiden shortly after the first video was released, seeking a gag order to shield its abortionist members from further inquiries into the trafficking of baby body parts.

Federal judge William Orrick, who previously served on the board of an organization that partnered with a Planned Parenthood affiliate, granted the preliminary injunction. Orrick held that Daleiden contracted away his First Amendment rights when he signed the non-disclosure agreement NAF requires of all conference attendees, to avert public relations disasters like that which followed late-term abortionist Martin Haskell’s unveiling of the new technique of partial birth abortion at a NAF meeting in the 1990’s.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the order without fully reviewing the case, as is required when First Amendment freedoms are at stake.

Katie Short, Life Legal’s Vice President of Legal Affairs, subsequently drafted and filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Ninth Circuit’s ruling. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court declined the petition.

Short noted that, “The Ninth’s Circuit decision represents the first time a court has ordered the suppression of information based solely on a nondisclosure agreement in a matter of public interest. While the Supreme Court’s denial of our petition is disappointing, it is neither entirely unexpected, nor is it fatal to our defense. In any case, we look forward to continuing our battle-and ultimately prevailing.”

The Supreme Court only grants approximately 80 out of the 8,000 petitions it receives each year. Inexplicably, the Ninth Circuit chose not to publish its decision, which increased the likelihood that the Supreme Court would deny our petition.