Apr 27, 2016

Alabama Continues Quixotic Quest

As reported by the Decatur Daily, a bill to revive Alabama's criminal defamation law has passed the state Senate after it was amended to clarify that criminal libel could not be used against statements regarding elected officials or candidates for elected office.

But, as I wrote last week, the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation of the First Amendment as requiring "actual malice" in defamation actions applies not only to public officials, but also the public figures and those involved in matters of public concern.

Rather than amending the bill in a futile attempt to revive a law that was held unconstitutional 15 years ago, the Alabama Legislature should abandon this quixotic effort.


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