Clarence Thomas backs Trump’s call to change the defamation law to facilitate lawsuits against media

nearvideo President Trump’s renewed call for a Federal offense right

Justice Clarence Thomas, in a concurring opinion, voice published on Tuesday, called the reversal of decades of case-law has made, that it suits more difficult for public figures, the media and other organisations for defamation, — restrictions that were to go out, he said, on a number of “policy-driven decisions, as a constitutional law.”

Thomas’ opinion comes against the backdrop of President Trump’s repeated calls to make it easier to sue for libel. Last weekend, Trump Night responded to a “Saturday Live” Sketch about his southern border, if necessary, explanation of questions on Twitter, “How the networks get away with this total Republican hit job, without retaliation? Similarly, for many other shows? Very unfair, and should be checked.”

And last December, Trump wrote on Twitter: “Is it not a shame that someone write an article or a book, completely make-up stories and a picture of a person, which is literally the exact opposite of the fact, and get away with it without retribution or cost. Don’t know why Washington is to change the politicians, defamation laws?”

Trump has been attempted to be met by the elimination of the high “actual malice” standard, the politicians, to prove that you defamed, the media, organisations and other legal persons. In his opinion, Thomas argued at length that Trump is the burden of proof in such cases, in fact, unfair.

Normally, in order to prove defamation has taken place, a private person has only to show that the defendant grossly negligent, a reasonable care in the dissemination of a provable lie is damaging its reputation. But in 1964 the Supreme court ruled in New York Times co. v. Sullivan that public officials must meet a higher “actual malice” burden. That means that you must prove that the defendant disseminated a falsehood, either intentionally or with reckless disregard for the truth.

The high court verdict, which came amid a wave of politically motivated actions by the Southern political officials, one-sided, the common law on defamation, which was engaged struck, of each of the States and inherited from Britain.

“The law of defamation at the time of the First and 14 Amendments were not ratified request, personalities of public life to satisfy any type of heightened liability standard as a condition of recovery of damages,” wrote Thomas.

In the search for a constitutional basis for its decision on the fact that the common law, the Sullivan court relied heavily on the opposition of the officers by the founding fathers, including James Madison, the sedition Act of 1798, which banned would have any “wrong” or “scandalous” writings against the government.

Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live”. Trump has a liberal media depictions of him, is suggested, slander, and falsehoods.

According to Thomas, though, is the fact that the author is against criminal punishment for criticism of officials, does not necessarily mean that you are against the creation of a barrier-free civil defamation remedy for such politicians. In fact, said Thomas, the founder consistently against the use of Federal law to override state common law that controlled the defamation actions at the time.


“Far from rising public figure, the burden in a defamation action, the common law as slander against public figures, if anything, more serious and harmful than ordinary slander,” wrote Thomas. “Insult of a civil servant accused of an offence ‘most dangerous for the people, and deserv[ing] punishment, because the people can be deceived, and reject the best citizens to their great injury, and it can lead to the loss of their freedoms.'”

Thomas added: “Madison seemed to consider that” the management [of the government]’ “a remedy, for their injured reputations, under the same laws and the same courts the protection of their lives, their liberties and their properties. … In short, there seems to be little historical evidence that The New York Times actual malice rule flows from the original understanding of the First or the 14th Amendment.”

To overwrite, In the absence of a compelling basis in constitutional law, common law, said Thomas, the Supreme court had involved, no business, which in state-level defamation law in the first place.

Thomas’s opinion came in an unrelated case, in which the high court received a complaint from actress Kathrine McKee refused, the said, the comic icon Bill Cosby raped her in 1974. McKee sued Cosby harmful to your reputation, according to a lawyer for the comedian allegedly leaked, a letter, of the assault McKee. Two lower courts ruled against her and dismissed the action, based largely on McKee’s role as a public figure.

Clarence Thomas: court is very different, without Scalia

No other justice Thomas’s opinion, joined on Tuesday, and it appeared unlikely that the Supreme court votes, a challenge of the case.

But Thomas’ can have an opinion, it was said, an effort to bring the signal to other groups, filed a lawsuit, based on Sullivan, in the midst of an increasingly changing media landscape in which information travels faster than ever before, legal experts. One of the main reasons for this is setting a higher bar for public officials to sue for defamation relates to their perceived ability to be quick to crush the false information on their own-an ability that some observers say will fade in the age of blogs and round-the-clock reporting.

Thomas is not the only prominent conservative justice to voice contempt for the Sullivan decision. The late justice Antonin Scalia has railed publicly against the decision of the court in this case, saying it was disgusting and constitutionally unfounded.


Thomas has distinctive opinions issued in other cases, which served apparently as signals. Support of Trump is back travel ban, Thomas wrote that nationwide injunctions issued by individual Federal judges “a toll on the Federal court system — to prevent legal issues from percolating through the Federal courts, the promotion of “forum shopping”, and that any case of a national emergency, the courts and the Executive branch.”

On Tuesday is of the opinion that Thomas proposed that Federal judges should be similar to complaining ass from defamation.

Fox News’ Bill Mears and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.

Most popular