From the Electronic Frontier Foundation comes news that a federal anti-SLAPP bill has been introduced into Congress:
A bipartisan group of representatives, including Reps. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA), recently introduced the SPEAK FREE Act of 2015, a bill that would help protect victims of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, also known as SLAPPs.
SLAPPs are frivolous lawsuits used to shut down opposition, particularly against bloggers who probably don’t have the resources to wage a six-figure legal war against a defamation/libel lawsuit. They are a means of chilling the marketplace of ideas by those who don’t want to be challenged.
Anti-SLAPP laws allow for these lawsuits to be dismissed when there is enough evidence to prove that the case could not win on its merits, and possibly the recovery of attorney’s fees. It makes it much less costly (and easier) for more people to fight back against these lawsuits.
So, does this legislation pass the “Grandma Test?” Would I want men with guns to possibly shoot my grandma if she refused to stop doing this? If my grandmother was filing lawsuits without basis to stop free expression, then yes. Or else, why do we have a First Amendment?