Tag: Libel

Denouncing the Deviationists


In her memoirs, Russian combat pilot Anna Egorova remembered her mother ”kneeling before the icons, as she firstly listed all our names, the names of her children, begging God for health and wisdom for us, and then at the end of each prayer repeating: ‘God save them from slander!’”  She didn’t understand that word ‘slander’ in her childhood, Egorova wrote, but after her brother was sent away as An Enemy of the People, “it was exposed before me in all its terrible nakedness.”

I was reminded once again of this story by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s agreement to pay $3.75 million to Maajid Nawaz and his organization, the Quilliam Foundation, for wrongly including them on its now-defunct list of “anti-Muslim extremists.” Sixty other organizations are also considering litigation against the SPLC.

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Query:  How is it possible to say that Ms. Palin had not demonstrated, for the purposed of a pre-trial dispositive motion, that there was clear and convincing evidence that NYT demonstrated a reckless disregard for the truth, given that all that was needed to be done, was for the NYT EB review its own archives? […]

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Here is a new exploration of the bounds of orthodoxy in Christianity.  I have been progressing through the Ten Commandments, at the beginning of a program to delineate the boundaries of what can be called “orthodox” among Christians.  So far we are mostly in agreement.  This week we will look at another Commandment, this time […]

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Update on the Bukovsky Trial


BukI just received this press release from Vladimir Bukovsky. You may recall that he sued Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service for libel over a statement it issued in April announcing that he was being charged with “making” child pornography. Bukovsky strenuously denied the allegations, and took the unusual step of issuing a writ against the CPS in the high court in London. Unfortunately — but unsurprisingly — the court has found against him:

The CPS has made no allegations of Vladimir Bukovsky’s involvement in sexual abuse of children, the High Court has ruled today. The judgement of Mr. Justice Warby in Mr. Bukovsky’s libel claim against the CPS states: “Mr Bukovsky has not been charged with or accused of being a participant in or present at the scene of any child sex abuse, or of taking photographs of such abuse. The CPS has not alleged, and does not allege, that he was guilty of or reasonably suspected of any such conduct.

The judgement is a victory for the CPS, who has staunchly denied that it “libelled” Mr. Bukovsky in its press-release on April last year.

More on Donald Trump and Libel


Donald Trump often compliments himself on how — without him — “nobody would be talking about immigration.” To put the most generous possible spin on the matter, that’s a stretch. One issue that’s indisputably Trump’s, is whether or not we should “loosen-up” libel laws. Given his obvious interest in — and experience with — the matter, you’d think he’d be fluent in the subject and have something interesting to say.

Well, you’d be wrong. As Ann Althouse covers, Trump’s usual no-nothing, dodge-and-weave, obfuscation shtick was in full force when he was asked about it in his recent hour-long interview with the Washington Post. It’s impressive in the sense that Trump is something of a genius at throwing people off and dominating a conversation — useful skills, indeed — but it also shows that the man simply cannot answer a straight question on almost any subject without undulating wildly between the extremes of victimhood and braggadocio.

We Just Don’t Win Lawsuits Against Free Speech Anymore


shutterstock_240690370Around the world, libel laws are routinely used — I’d say “abused,” but the intent is clearly bad — to criminalize and stifle criticism. In many cases, the legal deck is stacked in favor of the plaintiff and the underlying truth of the offending claim is almost beside the point. And in the age of the Internet, it’s often possible for an offended party to shop the suit around for the plaintiff-friendliest jurisdiction. Ironically, given their history, Commonwealth countries have particularly bad libel laws.

In contrast, the United States is generally considered one of the least libel-friendly environments in the world (even accounting for some significant variation among the states). This is thanks both to our First Amendment and the legal principle that truth is an absolute defense against libel, for which you should thank Alexander Hamilton (seriously, you should; it’s one of the man’s greatest accomplishments for liberty). But, as figures as diverse as Steven Novella and Mark Steyn will tell you, a determined plaintiff can still cost you “five years in court and a seven-figure sum for the privilege of learning whether one can say … in the United States.” As such, it’s not always necessary to win the case; often times, the mere threat will do, especially if the plaintiff has deep pockets.

Speaking of which, Donald Trump is also a critic of our libel system, but he thinks the problem is that it’s too hard to sue. To paraphrase the New York developer … on second thought, I’ll let him speak for himself. If nothing else, Trump very clear: