ERIC Number: ED288216
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Antonin Scalia and the First Amendment.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has been labeled an "enemy of the press" for his judicial opinions restricting or inhibiting the press's right to protected opinion. However, examination of his record suggests that his rulings do not constitute such a threat to journalistic freedom as many have been led to believe. His opinions generally fall into four categories: (1) defamation; (2) total prohibition on communication; (3) inhibition on communication; and (4) governmental control of information. Concerning defamation cases, Scalia has been nearly uniformly antipress, diluting the "Sullivan" actual malice rule in pretrial hearings, and narrowing definitions of "controversy" and "protected opinion." In cases of government prohibitions of communication, however, he does offer some prospeech decisions, such as in the "jellybean republic" case and the "Hill" case. Similar are his decisions in government restriction of speech situations, particularly in his rulings in favor of broadcast media's rights. Concerning government control of information, Scalia has been less prospeech with respect to press and citizen access to information without incurring heavy financial liabilities in defamation suits. While Scalia is no First Amendment champion his record is not quite so disastrous from a civil liberties perspective as popular and trade press accounts would lead one to believe. (Fifty-seven references are included.) (JC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: First Amendment; Libel; Scalia (Antonin)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (73rd, Boston, MA, November 5-8, 1987). An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Joint Meeting of the Central States Speech Association and the Southern Speech Communication Association (St. Louis, MO, April 9-12, 1987).