CEI Joins Coalition Supporting Bill to Curb Abusive Lawsuits Targeting Free Speech

Today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute joined seven other free market organizations in a coalition letter expressing our strong support for the SPEAK FREE Act, which would curtail frivolous lawsuits brought to chill protected speech and stifle criticism about matters of public concern. These lawsuits, known as “strategic lawsuits against public participation”—or SLAPPs—are brought by plaintiffs to punish speakers they dislike, even though the speech is protected by the First Amendment. Even though defendants in such cases usually prevail in court, they must still spend lots of time and money defending themselves through the litigation process.

To combat SLAPPs, the SPEAK FREE Act would let defendants move to dismiss lawsuits targeting speech about matters of public concern unless the plaintiff can show the court that the suit is likely to succeed on its merits. The bill, which resembles anti-SLAPP laws that have been enacted by 28 states, would also empower defendants sued in state court to remove SLAPP lawsuits to federal court.

You can read the coalition letter here.