Jury Dismisses Sarah Palin’s Defamation Claim Against the NY Times
On February 15th, a jury in the District Court for the Southern District of New York, dismissed a defamation lawsuit brought by Sarah Palin, a former governor of Alaska and vice presidential candidate in 2008, against The New York Times. The decision came a day before U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff said that he planned to dismiss the suit if the jury sided with Palin. Rakoff maintained that Palin’s lawyers were unable to prove the newspaper published with “actual malice” when it incorrectly linked her to a mass shooting in a Times editorial.
Will a Supreme Court Decision Bring Clarity to the Government Speech Doctrine?
A pending case before the United States Supreme Court about flags and flagpoles could determine two crucial questions for First Amendment law: (1) who is speaking—the government or an individual; and (2) when does the government create an open forum for freedom of expression.
Trial in Palin’s Defamation Suit Against the New York Times Begins
A defamation lawsuit brought by Sarah Palin against the New York Times began on February 3rd. Palin sued the newspaper in 2017 for an editorial that she alleges incorrectly linked her and her political action committee (PAC) to the 2011 mass shooting that left six people dead and 14 people wounded, including Representative Gabby Giffords of Arizona.
University of Florida Can’t Block Professors from Testifying Against the State, Judge Rules
A federal judge ruled on January 21st that the University of Florida cannot bar faculty members from testifying against the state in a voting-rights case. In late October of 2021, the university came under fire when it blocked three political science professors from serving as expert witnesses in the voting-right case, claiming it violated the university’s conflict of interest policies.
Smartmatic Sues MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell for Defamation
Smartmatic, a voting technology company, sued MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell for defamation on January 18th. The suit, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, begins, “Crazy like a fox. Mike Lindell know exactly what he is doing, and it is dangerous.”
Professor at a Public University Suspended for Profanity-Laden Video Sues for Free Speech Violations
A professor at a public university in Michigan was suspended with pay after posting a profanity-laced video to his incoming students. Professor Barry Mehler, a history professor at Ferris State University, posted the 14-minute long video that begins with him wearing an astronaut helmet over a face mask, and tells his students they are “vectors of disease,” and that “it is dangerous to breathe the air.”
FAW and FIRE co-host virtual panel on new book, “Free Speech: A History from Socrates to Social Media”
Join First Amendment Watch and Foundation for Individual Rights (FIRE) for a virtual taping of the So to Speak Podcast with Jacob Mchangama, author of “Free Speech: A History from Socrates to Social Media” in conversation with Greg Lukianoff, Professor Stephen D. Solomon, Sarah McLaughlin, and host Nico Perrino.
Freelance Writer Files $1 Million Defamation Suit Against The Atlantic
Ruth Shalit Barrett, a freelance writer who wrote a piece for The Atlantic about how some wealthy parents are pushing their children into niche sports in an attempt to get them into Ivy League schools is suing for defamation. The lawsuit, filed on January 7th in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, claims that The Atlantic and editor Donald Peck, “unlawfully smeared” her and damaged her reputation and career.