The leader of a pro-life group being sued wants a judge who blocked him from publishing videos recorded at meetings with an association of abortion providers disqualified because of his ties to Planned Parenthood.
U.S. District Judge William Orrick, according to the lawyers representing Center for Medical Progress leader David Daleiden, has a “longstanding relationship” as a past board member and emeritus board member of an organization connected to a Planned Parenthood affiliate.
In the filing obtained by TheBlaze, the attorneys claim that affiliate is a member of the National Abortion Federation, the association suing the CMP.
Daleiden’s legal team also alleges Orrick’s wife has posted public comments on Facebook in support of Planned Parenthood, and sometime in 2015, she “pinkified” her Facebook page, adding the phrase, “I stand with Planned Parenthood,” to her profile picture.
The judge’s wife also recently “liked” a Facebook post by the National Abortion Rights Action League that described the CMP’s work as “heavily edited videos by a sham organization run by extremists who will stop at nothing to deny women legal abortion services,” according to the filing.
The CMP is asking Orrick to recuse himself from the lawsuit filed against Daleiden after he barred the pro-life group from publicly releasing footage it recorded at conferences of the National Abortion Federation in 2014 and 2015. The judge said publishing the videos violates a preliminary injunction against the CMP.
“The instant case is not only high profile but involves one of the most persistently debated moral and political issues of our times,” Daleiden’s attorneys said in their request. “The public is well aware that abortion is a topic on which many people, including judges, are apt to have very strong feelings they would find difficult to set aside in order to be impartial.”
The attorneys went on to say Orrick’s past connection to pro-abortion causes “could taint the public’s perception of the fairness of the outcome” of the legal proceedings against the CMP.
The judge announced last month that he will consider holding Daleiden — as well as his legal team — in contempt of court after links to videos barred from release appeared on the website of the CMP leader’s attorneys. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for June 14.
Daleiden is also facing felony charges for recording people without their permission, which is a violation of California law. The CMP has published several secretly recorded videos that depict Planned Parenthood employees selling fetal tissue for profit, which is illegal.
The videos have certainly sparked an intense debate, not only about abortion, but about the practices of the largest women’s health provider in the United States. Planned Parenthood, for its part, has repeatedly claimed that every video released by the CMP is “deceptively edited” to cast a bad light on the abortion provider.