(RoyalPatriot.com )- Sarah Palin’s defamation lawsuit against the New York Times was always going to be tough. As a public figure, Palin needed to prove that the New York Times not only defamed her but did so with malice, meaning that they purposely reported something that wasn’t true.
Palin was defamed in a New York Times piece in 2017 when an editor compared her comments and language to a deadly shooting in 2011. The shooting left former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords severely wounded and six people dead. The Times admitted that they were at fault and published a correction that said that they had “incorrectly stated that a link existed between political rhetoric and the 2011 shooting.”
Palin’s suit finally went to court this year, but she lost after the judge said that she had not proven that the paper had acted maliciously.
United States District Judge Jed Rakoff announced on Monday that the suit would be dismissed and that even if the jury found the New York Times guilty, the case would still be thrown out. Jurors were not told of the plan. It’s not unprecedented, but it was certainly a curious decision.
David Logan, a law professor from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, told Reuters that the United States Supreme Court has previously argued that it is inappropriate for judges to take defamation cases out of the hands of the jurors. He cited a procedural rule that was established in New York Times v. Sullivan, a 1964 Supreme Court case, which introduced the “actual malice” requirement in public figure defamation lawsuits.
Alexandra Lahav, a law professor from the University of Connecticut, argued that there could be a case for an appeal.
“The dispute isn’t about what he is doing,” Lahav said. “It’s that he communicated his thinking at this stage of the case.”
It also turns out that the jury did actually know about the judge’s decision to throw out the case as they were deliberating – which is another possible cause for an appeal.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens, but whatever does happen, the New York Times has admitted fault. The only question is whether Palin can prove in her possible appeal that they acted with malice.