Freedom of the Press

ASSOCIATED PRESS v. WALKER, 389 U.S. 28 (1967)

Argued:
N/A
Decided:
October 16, 1967
Decided by:
Warren Court, 1967
Legal Principle at Issue:
Are public figures subject to the actual malice standard for libel as articulated in New York Times v. Sullivan (1964)?
Action:
Reversed and remanded. Walker’s damages award was overturned.

CASE INFO
OPINIONS
RELATED CASES
RESOURCES & COMMENTARY
CASE INFO

Facts/Syllabus:
Edwin Walker, a retired U.S. general, was reported by the Associated Press to have “[a]ssumed command” of a crowd of anti-desegregation protests at the University of Mississippi and led them in a charge against the U.S. Marshals. The story was published by newspapers subscribing to the Associated Press, and Walker sued for libel and was awarded compensatory damages. This was a companion case to Curtis Pub. Co. v. Butts (1967).
Importance of Case:
The Court held that Walker was a “public figure,” given “his personal activity amounting to a thrusting of his personality into the ‘vortex’ of an important public controversy.” The Court reasoned that public figures who are not public officials may recover damages for libel stemming from false reports based on “highly unreasonable conduct constituting an extreme departure from the standards of investigation and reporting ordinarily adhered to by responsible publishers.” This is a lesser standard than “actual malice” required for public officials under New York Times v. Sullivan (1964).

Advocates for Respondent
OPINIONS
Concurring Opinion

Hugo Black William Douglas

Dissenting Opinion

No opinions found

389 U.S. 28 (1967)

ASSOCIATED PRESS
v.
WALKER.

 

 

 


No. 306.

Supreme Court of United States. 

 


Decided October 16, 1967.

ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEAL OF LOUISIANA, SECOND CIRCUIT.William P. Rogers, Leo P. Larkin, Jr., Stanley Godofsky, Arthur Moynihan, Earl T. Thomas, John T. Guyton and Billy R. Pesnell for petitioner.W. Scott Wilkinson and Clyde J. Watts for respondent.PER CURIAM.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted. The judgment is reversed and the case is remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts, 388 U. S. 130.

MR. JUSTICE BLACK, with whom MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS joins, concurs in the result for the reasons stated in MR. JUSTICE BLACK’S separate opinion in Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts, 388 U. S. 130, 170.

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RESOURCES & COMMENTARY

Topics: Defamation and the Press, Freedom of the Press

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