(PatrioticPost.com)- On Monday, the Supreme Court rejected a case that would have revisited the 1964 New York Times v. Sullivan decision that created a higher bar for public figures to sue for libel by requiring them to prove “actual malice.”
However, Justice Clarence Thomas dissented from the Court’s decision, saying he would like to revisit the “actual malice” standard laid out in Sullivan.
The current case involves Coral Ridge Ministries Media, a nonprofit Christian ministry that sought to sue the Southern Poverty Law Center for defamation for labeling the ministry a “hate group.”
Coral Ridge lost in the lower courts and filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to revisit the libel standard established in Sullivan. However, on Monday, the Supreme Court refused to take the case.
In his dissent, Justice Thomas said he would have granted Coral Ridge’s request for review, arguing the case “is one of many showing how New York Times and its progeny have allowed media organizations and interest groups ‘to cast false aspersions on public figures with near impunity.’”
Thomas pointed out that the SPLC’s “hate map” was lumping Coral Ridge with groups like the KKK and Neo-Nazis. Its placement on this interactive online map caused Coral Ridge “concrete financial injury” because it barred them from the “AmazonSmile donation program.”
Thomas added that because of the “almost impossible actual-malice standard” set in Sullivan, Coral Ridge was unable to hold the SPLC to account for its “blatant falsehoods.”
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin recently lost her defamation suit against the New York Times based on the “actual malice” standard set by Sullivan. The judge in the case and the jury determined that Palin failed to prove “actual malice.”
Both Justice Thomas and Justice Neil Gorsuch have previously urged the Court to revisit the Sullivan decision.