Jackson addresses the 1st Amendment during a Supreme Court hearing

In the first round of questions Wednesday morning, Sen. Jon Ossoff, Democrat of Georgia, asked Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to review s...


In the first round of questions Wednesday morning, Sen. Jon Ossoff, Democrat of Georgia, asked Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to review some of the Supreme Court’s greatest successes among its First Amendment precedents. She gave accurate accounts of decisions on incitement, prior restraints and defamation.

There was an undertone to the questions. Two members of the Supreme Court — Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil M. Gorsuch — have asked for a review of the landmark 1964 libel ruling, New York Times v. Sullivan, which made it quite difficult for officials to sue news outlets and others for defamation. .

“What began in 1964 with the decision to tolerate occasional lies to ensure solid reporting by a comparative handful of print and broadcast media,” Judge Gorsuch wrote in a dissenting opinion last year, “became an ironclad subsidy for publishing lies in ways and on a scale previously unimaginable.”

Judge Clarence Thomas, for his part, has Many times called for the Supreme Court to reconsider Sullivan and the decisions that extend him, saying they were “political decisions disguised as constitutional law”.

These statements in some ways echoed President Donald J. Trump’s frustration with modern defamation law.

“We are going to open up these defamation laws,” Mr. Trump said on the campaign trail in 2016. “So when the New York Times writes a hit story that’s a total disgrace or when the Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit story, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they are totally protected.

Judge Jackson did not respond to these criticisms. But saying that press freedom “underpins our democracy,” she signaled she was not likely to buy into it.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Jackson addresses the 1st Amendment during a Supreme Court hearing
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