Free speech roundup

  • Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention panel discussion on Justice Scalia, originalism, and the First Amendment with Profs. Nadine Strossen, David Forte, Michael McConnell, and David Rabban, moderated by Judge Carlos Bea;
  • Sad day for liberal Netherlands tradition of free political opinion [CNN on conviction of Geert Wilders, leader of prominent political party] More Euro speech-throttling: France mulls ban on anti-abortion websites (only) that “mislead” or “manipulate” [Guardian]
  • Judge grants motions to dismiss, and to strike as SLAPP, the suit in California demanding “R” ratings on films with tobacco use [Greg Herbers, Washington Legal Foundation, earlier here and here, related here and here]
  • “Congress’s rotten idea for fighting anti-Semitism” [Jacob Sullum, New York Post on S. 10, the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2016]
  • “Lawyer seeks to identify author of three-word ‘horrible’ Google review” [Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal; Eugene Volokh]
  • Section 230 vindicated: “Judge Tosses Charges Against Backpage Execs, Tells Kamala Harris To Take It Up With Congress” [Tim Cushing/TechDirt, Elizabeth Nolan Brown/Reason]
  • Breaking Thursday morning: court allows defamation claims by climate scientist Michael Mann to go forward against several defendants including Rand Simberg of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and columnist Mark Steyn, but throws out claim against National Review editor Rich Lowry over editorial [BuzzFeed, Jonathan Adler, CEI statement quoting CEI’s Sam Kazman and attorney Andrew Grossman]


  • A decision in the Michael Mann v. NRO appeal

    ORDERED and ADJUDGED that the trial court’s denial of the special
    motions to dismiss the defamation claims is affirmed, and the matter is remanded for
    additional proceedings in the trial court with respect to these claims. The trial court’s denial of the special motions to dismiss with respect to Appellee’s claims for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress are reversed; on remand, the court shall dismiss these claims with prejudice.

    • “Argued November 25, 2014 – Decided December 22, 2016”

      This is unacceptable. Courts cannot sit on cases for over two years after they’ve been argued – especially in situations like this, where discovery is stayed and the entire purpose of the pending motion is a potential early dismissal of the case intended to NOT make defendants go through years of litigation. The judges should be considered for impeachment.

      But I think they got at least one thing right – they decided that the anti-SLAPP motion was, in fact, appealable right away. That’s the only way it makes sense. If you wait to appeal it until the case has been decided, it’s already moot.