Supreme Court Declines Planned Parenthood Undercover Video Case, Leaving Gag Order in Place

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Posted: Apr 03, 2018 12:10 PM
Supreme Court Declines Planned Parenthood Undercover Video Case, Leaving Gag Order in Place

The Supreme Court declined to take up a petition for writ of certiorari Monday from David Daleiden, head of the Center for Medical Progress, who was seeking to overturn a gag order against his undercover videos that allegedly show incriminating footage of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. The undercover footage is from a National Abortion Federation (NAF) convention. NAF is claiming the footage violates a non-disclosure agreement Daleiden signed to attend the conference.

Daleiden’s attorneys appealed a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals injunction against the release of additional undercover footage from the NAF convention in August.

The petition emphasized that in upholding the gag order on the videos “the Ninth Circuit became the first federal circuit to uphold an injunction against the publication of information of legitimate public interest, based solely on the private agreement of parties.”

It pointed out that prior to the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision “no court had so held, and at least two federal courts had ruled to the contrary.”

They argued that Daleiden did not sign away his First Amendment rights by signing non-disclosure agreements and that the footage includes “informal one-on-one conversations taking place in exhibit areas and receptions.”

U.S. District Judge William Orrick, who blocked the release of the videos in 2016, claimed that enforcing a confidentiality agreement did not violate Daleiden’s free speech rights. He argued that confidentiality agreements help protect the privacy and safety of abortion providers.

However, Daleiden’s attorneys have repeatedly asked for Orrick to be removed from their case due to his ties to Planned Parenthood.

According to a petition filed by Daleiden’s attorneys in December, Judge Orrick has "an ongoing and longstanding professional relationship with one of the named Plaintiffs.” Orrick is a founder and officer of the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center (GSFRC), an organization that partners with Planned Parenthood and had a Planned Parenthood clinic incorporated on its premises while Orrick served as secretary and counsel to the organization.

“Justice is not only blind, but it remains gagged for the time being,” Tom Brejcha, President and Chief Counsel at the Thomas More Society which is representing Daleiden, said of the Supreme Court’s decision.

“We are confident David Daleiden’s First Amendment rights will be upheld ultimately,” Brejcha added. “We are disappointed with what appears to be the Supreme Court’s decision that these problems are better addressed at lower court levels at this time. When the smoke finally clears, we believe David Daleiden will be completely vindicated for exposing the truth about the abortion industry.”

The CMP was behind a series of undercover videos which exposed Planned Parenthood employees discussing trafficking in fetal remains. When the videos were initially released in 2015, even Hillary Clinton called the footage, which led to a Congressional inquiry, “disturbing.”

Daleiden faces 15 counts of felony as a result of the undercover videos. He was charged with contempt for releasing an additional video in May which was later removed.

The videos have prompted a federal investigation of the abortion giant by the FBI and the Department of Justice. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) referred Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers to the FBI for investigation in light of the undercover videos last December.

Grassley wrote at the time that the Committee’s findings document “substantial evidence suggesting that the specific entities involved in the recent controversy, and/or individuals employed by those entities, may have violated that law. Moreover, that evidence is contained entirely in those entities’ own records, which were voluntarily provided to the Committee and are detailed in the report.”