Course on Actual Malice and New York Times v. Sullivan
Continued Legal Education
This continuing legal education course, approved by the Pennsylvania CLE Board, will take place on the 16th FIRE’s Philadelphia office building at 4:00 pm on May 15, 2023. FIRE attorney Gabe Walters will give an overview of the United States Supreme Court landmark decision of New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964). Sullivan is one of the most cherished and also most debated precedents in First Amendment history. It is said to have “constitutionalized” the field of defamation law with its introduction of the “actual malice” test as a federal rule under the First Amendment. That test requires public officials (and by operation of later rulings, also discussed during this CLE, public figures) to prove that the defamation defendant knew the falsity of his or her publication or acted with reckless disregard as to the truth. This presentation will go over the decision’s holding and rationales. We will explore the case’s legacy in subsequent Supreme Court rulings and discuss specific applications of the actual malice test. The CLE will conclude with a discussion of recent critiques and defenses of Sullivan and its ongoing utility.
The goal of this CLE is to give each attending lawyer a working understanding of this decision. Each participant will be given a file with the decision and Powerpoint slides.
Those interested in attending must sign up to attend.