(RoyalPatriot.com )- A landmark Supreme Court ruling regarding defamation from 1964 could soon be revisited during a current defamation suit brought by the Christian ministry.
The ruling in question, New York Times v. Sullivan, was decided back in 1964, but its precedents could see a change soon. The current case going through the system involves the Christian ministry, which filed a defamation suit against the Southern Poverty Law Center.
David Gibbs III, who is serving as the counsel for the D. James Kennedy Ministries in the case, said:
“This case is a perfect case to overturn the Times v. Sullivan standard.”
On Friday, Gibbs said the organization will appeal a U.S. Court of Appeals decision up to the Supreme Court. That decision to appeal the ruling was “unanimously approved” by the board of directors of DJKM.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit recently dismissed the case.
Back in 2017, DJKM filed lawsuits against Amazon and SPLC, claiming discrimination and defamation.
The suit stems from the SPLC branding Christian organizations that are mainstream conservative as “hate groups.” The organization placed the DJKM on lists with other groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.
Because of Bible statements the DKJM uses on homosexuality, SPLC branded it as an “anti-LGBT hate group.” In addition, Amazon then used the SPLC’s “hate group” list to make a determination on whether the organization was eligible for the Amazon Smile charity program.
Up until this point, every court has thrown out DJKM’s defamation lawsuit. The rulings in each of those cases determined that the DJKM hasn’t met the “actual malice” standard for defamation suits that was set by the Supreme Court in the New York Times v. Sullivan case.
But, as that has happened in lower courts, Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas have both said the high court should revisit the precedent it set back in the 1960s, analyzing the standard of “actual malice” for modern times.
Last month, Thomas wrote in a dissent that:
“Public figures cannot establish libel without proving by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted with ‘actual malice’ — that is with the knowledge that the published material ‘was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false.'”
He continued to argue that the standard bears “no relation to the text, history or structure of the Constitution.”
He went on to cite various examples of some lies the caused real harm to public figures. He wrote:
“The proliferation of falsehoods is, and always has been, a serious matter. Instead of continuing to insulate those who perpetrate lies from traditional remedies like libel suits, we should give them only the protection the First Amendment requires.”
As for Gorsuch, he said that defamation law since the founding of the U.S. was “almost exclusively the business of state courts and legislatures.”
But, the New York Times v. Sullivan case set a federal standard for defamation. The effect of this, he said, is:
“Now, private citizens can become ‘public figures’ on social media overnight.”