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ACLU tackles Snyder libel lawsuit (access required)

A few interested parties have entered the Dan Snyder-City Paper libel lawsuit with (rhetorical) guns a-blazin'. The Washington chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed an amicus brief in support of City Paper's motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the Washington Redskins' owner in response to a November 2010 article. Among the dozen organizations joining the ACLU in the filing are the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Society of Professional Journalists and the publishers of Politico and National Journal. The brief argues in part that Snyder's complaint is a "SLAPP," a "Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation." The D.C. City Council passed an "anti-SLAPP" law in December designed to protect people who "speak and write about issues of public interest," according to the ACLU. Lawsuits filed against such people (in this case City Paper writer Dave McKenna) should be dismissed unless "the person bringing the lawsuit can show that he is likely to win the case if it is allowed to go forward,"  according to the ACLU. But the brief goes beyond legal arguments, attacking Snyder using cultural references that would make Court of Appeals Judge Glenn T. Harrell Jr. proud.