A Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel gave pro-life activist Dave Daleiden a victory Monday after he was barred by a lower court from releasing information about the University of Washington's purchase of baby body parts for research.
Last November, a Seattle-based district court judge placed an injunction prohibiting Daleiden from releasing the names and job titles of university personnel involved in research using aborted babies' body parts that were harvested by Planned Parenthood.
Regarding the Ninth Circuit panel's decision on Monday, Thomas More Society's Special Counsel Peter Breen said in a statement to Fox News earlier this week that the ruling "has prevented a serious threat to the public's right to know how their tax dollars are being spent."
The three-judge panel concluded that while they "agree with the district court that there may be a basis for redaction where disclosure would likely result in threats, harassment, and violence," the district court failed to "address how the Doe Plaintiffs have made the necessary clear showing with specificity as to the different individuals or groups of individuals who could be identified in the public records.
"The district court also made no finding that specific individuals or groups of individuals were engaged in activity protected by the First Amendment and what that activity was," read the decision.
"We remand for the district court to address how disclosure of specific information would violate the constitutional or statutory rights of particular individuals or groups of individuals."
The panel did decided that the injunction of the lower court would remain in place for a period not to exceed 120 days so the district court can "enter the necessary findings of fact and conclusions of law supporting injunctive relief, consistent with this disposition."
Daleiden garnered national headlines back in 2015 when he and his California-based pro-life group, the Center for Medical Progress, released a series of undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood and others engaging in illegal activity, such as profiting from the sale of aborted baby body parts.
Since then, Daleiden has found himself dealing with multiple legal battles over his efforts, occasionally being charged and then cleared of various misdemeanor allegations.
As part of his efforts against Planned Parenthood, Daleiden and his peers attempted to release the information on employees at Planned Parenthood and the UW Birth Defect Research Laboratory.
Last November, U.S. District Judge James Robart issued an injunction blocking the release of that information, citing safety concerns for the aforementioned employees.
"Plaintiffs have submitted multiple declarations detailing past and present harassment due to Plaintiffs' associational ties with the various organizations at issue, as well as threats and harassment directed against the organizations themselves," concluded Robart.
"The court agrees that the public has an interest in understanding and obtaining information about the types of research and other work in which UW engages with public funds, but releasing Plaintiffs' personally identifying information would do little, if anything, to advance that interest."