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Defamation

Mar 2022

Chapter 5: English Libel Law and the SPEECH Act: A Comparative Perspective

Dave Heller and Katharine Larsen

The modest purpose of this overview is to shed light on an overseas branch of our “legal family tree”—and perhaps glimpse at what our branch could suffer were we to abandon Sullivan. 

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Mar 2022

Chapter 4: The Reality of Contemporary Libel Litigation

Ballard Spahr LLP and Davis Wright Tremaine LLP*

Decades of experience applying the Sullivan standard demonstrates the substantial value it brings to contemporary libel cases brought by public officials and public figures, and the importance of maintaining this protection.

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Mar 2022

Chapter 3: The Empirical Reality of Contemporary Libel Litigation

Michael Norwick

It is the aim of this Chapter to quantify empirically what happens in defamation cases against the news media in a broader and more complete context than the Media Law Resource Center has undertaken in the past and to dispel some misconceptions about what conclusions can be drawn from our previously published trial data.

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Mar 2022

Chapter 2: A Response to Justice Gorsuch

Richard Tofel and Jeremy Kutner

In his dissent in Berisha, Justice Gorsuch calls for reconsideration of a cornerstone of American constitutional law. Despite the absence of credible evidence that New York Times Co. v. Sullivan’s strong protections have degraded journalism, he raises a purported historical question: Does Sullivan’s rationale no longer hold because the media landscape that existed in 1964…

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Mar 2022

Chapter 1: A Response to Justice Thomas

Matthew L. Schafer

This Chapter provides the missing historical context to assess Justice Thomas’ originalist attacks on Sullivan; along the way, it suggests that history, rather than undercutting Sullivan, supports the Court’s constitutionalization of the common law of libel.

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Mar 2022

Introduction and Executive Summary

In this White Paper, MLRC has asked multiple experts to examine each of the major contentions that undergird the Justices’ calls for Sullivan to be revisited. Collectively, they make an unassailable case that Sullivan’s rendition of the First Amendment-based limitations on libel law was correct when the case was decided and that it remains equally…

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Mar 2022

Preface

Floyd Abrams

Even the most enthusiastic praise of a Supreme Court ruling does not necessarily mean that the case was correctly decided or that its reasoning was flawless. So it is well worth revisiting the ruling and assessing its impact on libel law and First Amendment law more generally.

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Mar 2022

New York Times v. Sullivan: The Case for Preserving an Essential Precedent

A comprehensive White Paper heralding Justice Brennan’s opinion, countering the arguments made by its chief critics, and analyzing the role of actual malice in contemporary litigation.

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Feb 2022

From the Executive Director’s Desk: Palin v. New York Times: Testing the Actual Malice Standard

George Freeman

Instead of focusing on whether this litigation will be used to overrule Sullivan, its real significance was as a test of whether Sullivan works.

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Feb 2022

Roy Moore #MeToo Libel Suit Results in a “Dogfall”

Dennis Bailey

The jury verdict concluded: “[N]either party recover from the other.”  However, both sides claimed victory and neither side said they will appeal. 

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