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Quote of the Day: Hugo Black on the First Amendment

2018-01-12

 

Has anyone said it better than Justice Hugo Black? “In the First Amendment the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.”

(Lifted from a comment by Charles Carroll of San Francisco on a New York Times article last Wednesday about Don the Con’s threat : “We are going to take a strong look at our country’s libel laws, so that when somebody says something that is false and defamatory about someone, that person will have meaningful recourse in our courts”… As another commenter noted, libel law is primarily a state matter, and Don the Con has little say in it.)  Here’s another comment that I found helpful:

Mandy Roth

Philadelphia, PA 1 day ago

A brief primer on libel and slander laws, just for you, Mr. Trump, since you seem to have decided not to consult your eminent legal team on this issue. Libel and slander laws are developed and enforced under “common law”: cases are decided in the first instance by state courts based on their interpretation of legal precedence in that state. Only upon multiple appeals, as permitted by the successively higher courts, do such cases reach federal courts, and even then, decisions rendered by a federal court are based entirely on the doctrines of common law and legal precedence, as established by prior federal as well as state case law. Trump has virtually NO power to change libel or slander laws. He once again demonstrates his ignorance and naivete in continuing to beat this drum like the recalcitrant child that he is.

And the final nail in the coffin for Don the Con’s aspirations:

Dave Scott

Ohio 1 day ago

Aside from the absurdity of the Defamer-in-Chief complaining about how hard it is win libel suits, the standard that makes it hard to win suits involving public figure plaintiffs like Trump came from a Supreme Court balancing of First Amendment rights vs libel law protections. For that reason, I very much doubt Congress could alter that standard.

(Once again, the cartoon comes from Pixabay; we are featuring their cartoons today.)

 

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