Daily Media Links 3/2

March 2, 2022   •  By Tiffany Donnelly   •  
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Anti-SLAPP Statutes: A Report Card

By Dan Greenberg & David Keating

Anti-SLAPP statutes prevent abuse of the legal system by providing additional defenses to those who are sued for exercising their First Amendment rights. The term “SLAPP” is an acronym for strategic lawsuit against public participation.

This report summarizes and evaluates anti-SLAPP statutes in 32 jurisdictions – 31 states and the District of Columbia. (The other 19 states have no functioning anti-SLAPP statute.)

This report begins by explaining the functions of anti-SLAPP statutes. It sketches the structure of a well-designed anti-SLAPP statute; explains the importance and operation of the elements of a statute; includes a brief account of the structure and functions of the Uniform Law Commission’s model anti-SLAPP statute; provides a numerical rating and letter grade for each jurisdiction’s statute, based on evaluations of how well each statute protects First Amendment rights; and recommends a particular improvement to the statutes of states with poor grades. Because such ratings and grades necessarily involve some degree of judgment and subjectivity, this report explains in detail the rationale of those ratings and grades…

Hover over and click on any state for more information, or select a state:

Reason: Exposing Donations to Political Causes Can Chill Free Speech

By Scott Blackburn

Tammy Giuliani, the owner of Stella Luna Gelato Café in Ottawa, has learned a valuable lesson about privacy.

Giuliani made a $250 donation to the Canadian trucker’s convoy, the movement that briefly paralyzed Canada’s capital and garnered international attention for its protest against COVID-19 mandates. Hackers leaked information about her donation and thousands of others, leading to widespread threats and harassment against the donors. The threats forced the café to close…

Americans should take two lessons from these unfortunate events. First: The right to support causes privately and keep our associations to ourselves is important to a healthy and stable civil society. We cannot rid our communities of people and businesses that disagree with us. If people who object to Black Lives Matter or the Tea Party harass every small business that supports these causes, we would soon live in a world with very few small businesses—or very little free speech. Privacy of donations allows everyone to participate in political causes without sacrificing their ability to work and live in a diverse community.

The Courts

Law & Crime: Judge Calls Juror Controversy ‘Legally Irrelevant,’ Finds Sarah Palin ‘Wholly Failed’ to Prove Her Case Against New York Times

By Adam Klasfeld

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) “wholly failed” to prove her defamation case against the New York Times “even to the minimum standard required by law,” a federal judge wrote in a scathing opinion, explaining his fateful order to toss the case in the middle of deliberations.

Now seeking a new trial, Palin’s attorneys want to scrap the jury’s “not liable” verdict amid revelations that “several” jurors learned about the case’s dismissal through smartphone push notifications while deliberations were ongoing. They also want to disqualify Senior U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, who was adamant that that this development was meaningless and “legally irrelevant.”

“Although these jurors were adamant that this knowledge had not affected their determination of the verdict in the slightest, the Court promptly notified the parties of this information,” his opinion states.

Rakoff emphasized his “firm view” that the jurors’ awareness that he dismissed the case “did not nullify the jury’s verdict in any respect.”

Online Speech Platforms

AP News: Twitter suspends US Senate candidate for hateful conduct

A U.S. Senate candidate for Missouri says she has no plans to delete a transphobic tweet that violated Twitter’s rules against hateful conduct, even after the social media platform said she won’t be able to tweet, retweet, follow or like posts until she does.

Twitter suspended Vicky Hartzler ’s personal account on Monday.

Hartzler’s tweet, posted in mid-February, said: “Women’s sports are for women, not men pretending to be women,” and included her TV ad targeting transgender people in sports and particularly University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas.

A statement from Hartzler’s campaign called the suspension “shameful, utterly ridiculous, and a horrible abuse of censorship by big tech giants to stifle free speech.” The campaign said Hartzler will not delete the tweet.

The States

Voice of OC: Santa Ana Officials Say Police Union President’s Lawsuit is an Intimidation Campaign

By Brandon Pho

Voice of OC’s chief public records litigator, attorney Kelly Aviles, said “cities are more and more frequently” considering anti-SLAPP motions in response to lawsuits against them seeking to stop the disclosure of records…

“Sometimes correctly, sometimes incorrectly,” Aviles said, adding “I’ve seen situations where someone is rightfully challenging actions of government and cities file an anti-SLAPP to throw those suits out as well.”

Tiffany Donnelly

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