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First Amendment Library:
John A. Lloyd Jr.


A public figure may not recover damages for a defamatory falsehood without clear and convincing proof that the false "statement was made with `actual malice' — that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not." New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U. S. 254, 279-280 (1964). See Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts, 388 U. S. 130, 162 (1967) (opinion of Warren, C. J.). In Bose Corp. v. Consumers Union of United States, Inc., 466 U. S. 485 (1984), we held that judges in such cases have a constitutional duty to "exercise independent judgment and determine whether the record establishes actual malice with convincing clarity." Id., at 514. In this case the Court of Appeals affirmed a libel judgment against a newspaper without attempting to make an independent evaluation of the credibility of conflicting oral testimony concerning the subsidiary facts underlying the jury's finding of actual malice. We granted certiorari to consider whether the Court of Appeals' analysis was consistent with our holding in Bose. 488 U. S. 907 (1988).