This judge’s ruling is about to send Sarah Palin to the Supreme Court
Sarah Palin is fighting a major legal battle.
It ended with an unexpected result.
And this judge’s ruling is about to send Sarah Palin to the Supreme Court.
Sarah Palin filed a defamation lawsuit against the New York Times over a 2017 editorial where the Times falsely claimed a map with targets on Democrat districts that Palin’s PAC posted online inspired a madman to shoot Arizona Democrat Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.
Since there was no such link, Palin sued, hoping to challenge the 1964 New York Times v. Sullivan case establishing the standard of actual malice for public figures to establish that a media outlet defamed them.
The case was in the middle of jury deliberations when U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff made the odd decision to throw the case out regardless of what the jury decided.
Judge Rakoff – a Bill Clinton appointee – claimed Palin did not produce evidence the Times acted with actual malice in publishing the false editorial.
“The Supreme Court made that balance and set very high standards and I don’t think that standard has been realized by the plaintiff with respect to at least one aspect of the actual malice requirement,” Rakoff declared. “I don’t think a reasonable jury could conclude that Mr. Bennet either knew the statements were false or that he thought the statements were false and he recklessly disregarded that high probability.”
“That places the burden very much on the plaintiff in these situations,” Judge Rackoff added. “In this case, the court finds that that standard has not been met.”
Judge Rackoff did concede that the case was destined for appeal.
When Palin filed the case in 2017, it appeared designed as a vehicle for the Supreme Court to revisit the nation’s libel laws.
Two conservative justices – Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas – both expressed an interest in revisiting the Sullivan standard for public figures to prove defamation.
Palin’s next move will be an appeal to the Second Circuit Court.
After that, whoever comes out on the losing end – Palin or the New York Times – will automatically appeal to the Supreme Court.
There is no guarantee the Court will take up the case.
But if Sarah Palin does take this case all the way to the Supreme Court, there are at least two conservative Justices receptive to her argument.