The Public Participation Act: A Comprehensive Model Approach to End Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation in the USA

In this article, Samantha Brown and Mark Goldowitz of the Public Participation Project, a First Amendment group dedicated to passage of a national anti-SLAPP law, provide some context for the emerging, speech-stifling SLAPP lawsuit phenomenon. Otherwise known by their full name as Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, SLAPPs are meritless lawsuits used by opponents of citizens and groups who speak out on issues as a means to stifle that party’s ability to speak publicly. These lawsuits are a serious concern as they threaten speakers’ First Amendment political speech rights. Although a majority of states have passed anti-SLAPP laws, uniform protection against these lawsuits has yet to materialize. As a result, the authors outline a sensible piece of model legislation, known as the Public Participation Act that would afford citizens and groups’ a uniform standard of protection against SLAPPs.

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.