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Monday, January 20, 2014

Courts - Blogger/Law Prof Eugene Volokh winning attorney in 1st amendment case for defendant blogger

On Friday Prof. Eugene Volokh of The Volokh Conspiracy posted this entry which is titled "Bloggers = Media for First Amendment Libel Law Purposes" and begins:

So holds today’s Obsidian Finance Group v. Cox (9th Cir. Jan. 17, 2014) (in which I represented the defendant). To be precise, the Ninth Circuit concludes that all who speak to the public, whether or not they are members of the institutional press, are equally protected by the First Amendment. To quote the court,
The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story. As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable: “With the advent of the Internet and the decline of print and broadcast media … the line between the media and others who wish to comment on political and social issues becomes far more blurred.” Citizens United, 558 U.S. at 352. In defamation cases, the public-figure status of a plaintiff and the public importance of the statement at issue — not the identity of the speaker — provide the First Amendment touchstones.
ILB readers will recall that Prof. Volokh, along with Indianapolis attorney Michael Sutherlin, argued the Indiana 1st amendment blogger case, Brewington v. State, before our Supreme Court on Sept. 11, 2013. Our Supreme Court has not yet issued its decision in the case. Here is a long list of ILB entries on Brewington.

Here is a Jan 17th WSJ Law Blog post on the 9th Circuit ruling.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 20, 2014 09:51 AM
Posted to Courts in general