Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

TOP news

Sarah Palin says she’ll ‘consider’ asking the Supreme Court to reevaluate defamation law if she loses her lawsuit against the New York Times

Sarah Palin, 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate and former Alaska governor, arrives with former NHL hockey player Ron Duguay during her defamation lawsuit against the New York Times, at the United States Courthouse in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., February 9, 2022.

REUTERS/Stephen Yang

  • Sarah Palin told Insider she’ll “consider” asking the Supreme Court to reevaluate defamation law if she loses her trial.
  • She’s suing the New York Times for an editorial that linked her PAC’s rhetoric to a shooting.
  • Two Supreme Court justices want to revisit the “actual malice” standard for defaming public figures.

After testifying at trial Wednesday for her defamation lawsuit against the New York Times, former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin told Insider she’ll “consider” seeking to have the Supreme Court revoke a landmark defamation case.

Asked if she wanted to have the high court overturn New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, the landmark 1964 case that established the legal standards for criticizing public figures, Palin told Insider she wants to take it “one step at a time” before deciding whether to make that argument in an appeal.

“We’ll consider it after this case,” Palin said.

The former Alaska governor said she prefers to win her trial outright rather than go through the appeals process.

Palin filed her lawsuit in 2017 over an editorial published by the Times that June titled “America’s Lethal Politics.” The piece followed the shooting of several Republican members of Congress by a man with a history of opposing their political positions.

The Times article, published in its opinion section, drew a link between the shooting and an earlier one, in 2011, where another man shot then-Democratic Rep. Gabriel Giffords in Arizona, wounding her and killing six others. According to the version of the editorial that was initially published, Palin incited that shooting because her political action committee posted an image on Facebook that put Giffords’s district under crosshairs.

The Times corrected the article the next day, admitting that there was no established link between Palin’s committee’s post and the Giffords shooting. Palin filed her lawsuit two weeks later.

James Bennet, the head of the Times’s opinion operation, inserted the phrases Palin claims were defamatory while revising another writer’s first draft of “America’s Lethal Politics.” Bennet resigned from the Times in June 2020 after running an op-ed by Senator Tom Cotton calling for the deployment of US military troops to quell American civilian protests, but remains a defendant in the lawsuit.

The 1964 First Amendment case set the legal standard for defaming public figures

Since Palin is a public figure, the jury must find that Bennet and the Times acted “with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard” of the truth in order to find them culpable of defamation under the “actual malice” standard established by the Supreme Court.

Her lawsuit alleges that the Times violated that standard. But if she loses her case, she has the opportunity to appeal it to an appellate court, and then possibly up to the Supreme Court, where it may revisit that standard.

Two right-wing members of the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, have both criticized the decades-old ruling and said it should be overturned in favor of different standards.

sarah palin james bennet illustration court trial new york timesJames Bennet testifies as Sarah Palin, 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate and former Alaska governor, watches during Palin’s defamation lawsuit trial against the New York Times, at the United States Courthouse in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., February 9, 2022 in this courtroom sketch.

REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg

Palin took the stand Wednesday afternoon and testified for about 20 minutes before US District Judge Jed Rakoff, who’s overseeing the case, sent the jury home for the day.

The former governor cut a striking figure, wearing a double-breasted fuchsia blazer and black skirt, in the small, wood-paneled and green-curtained courtroom on the 24th floor of a Manhattan federal court building. She’s scheduled to continue testifying Thursday morning.

Her testimony so far mostly consisted of details of her personal life in Wasilla, Alaska, and political career.

“Were you running against established, career politicians and all that stuff?” her attorney asked her.

“Always!” Palin responded with enthusiasm.

Palin followed testimony from Ross Douthat, a New York Times columnist who alerted Bennet to his concerns about the draft of “America’s Lethal Politics” that was initially published.

Before Douthat took the stand, Bennet finished his own testimony, which had continued from Tuesday afternoon.

He said he inserted the phrases linking Palin’s PAC to the “incitement” of violence while under pressure for a looming deadline, and never imagined people would read his sentences as blaming Palin for the 2011 shooting.

“The question didn’t enter my mind,” he said.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


You May Also Like


Adeline van Houtte is the Economist Intelligence Unit’s lead analyst on Russia. It looks like Russia is at it again, after the unusual movement...

Health Care

Former President Donald Trump confirmed he had gotten a booster during a live show with Bill O’Reilly in Dallas on Sunday.

TOP news

Medical imaging service in a hospital in Savoie, France. A technician monitors a brain MRI scan session. BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images A...

TOP news

US Navy aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson leads other US Navy ships during an exercise with the Indian navy in 2012. US Navy Photo...