The Need For A Federal Anti-SLAPP Law Is Clear And Overwhelming

from the and-yet-no-one's-interested dept

Lawyer Daniel Horwitz has a wonderful write-up for NYU’s Journal of Legislation & Public Policy on why we need a federal anti-SLAPP law. It’s a quick, but thoughtful overview (and, full disclosure, I gave him a couple of small points while he was researching the article), that details not just the need for more SLAPP laws in general, but specifically a federal anti-SLAPP law. As he makes clear in the piece, there are just way too many ways to get around state anti-SLAPP laws (if a state even has one, which many don’t):

Second, even in states that have enacted anti-SLAPP statutes, ?[t]he scope of [] anti-SLAPP statutes varies greatly.?[ For instance, some states provide robust protection against SLAPP suits?applying to virtually all constitutionally protected speech and offering a cornucopia of benefits such as a specialized procedure for obtaining early dismissal, an automatic stay of discovery, and mandatory attorney?s fee-shifting. By contrast, other states? anti-SLAPP statutes provide meager benefits and apply only narrowly, for instance, to speech made to government entities.

Third, even when a plaintiff files a SLAPP suit against someone who resides in a state with a strong anti-SLAPP statute, the substantive law of the defendant?s residence will not necessarily apply to the case. Instead, the law that governs the plaintiff?s claims will turn on the choice of law rules of the forum in which the suit was filed?an inquiry that can, and often does, result in the substantive law of the plaintiff?s residence or the place of injury applying instead.

It then notes the troubling trend, that we’ve discussed in the past, that many federal courts have now said that state anti-SLAPP laws cannot be used in federal court — meaning that as long as they assert federal causes of action, they can get around many state anti-SLAPP laws. That wouldn’t work with a federal anti-SLAPP law. That last one is important, because there are a variety of federal laws that are used for SLAPPs:

Plaintiffs also have had little difficulty filing SLAPP suits using federal causes of action?for instance, under the Lanham Act, 42 U.S.C. section 1985, the Copyright Act, and civil RICO statutes?which provide a straightforward means for plaintiffs to sue their critics, however baselessly, regarding protected speech.

From there, the article details how a federal anti-SLAPP law would solve many of these problems — making sure it applied in federal court and to federal causes of action — and that it would end cases more quickly and shift the fees to the frivolous, censorial plaintiffs. A key point made:

Where SLAPP suits are concerned, the process itself is the punishment, and many speakers cannot afford?or are understandably unwilling to bear?the heavy expense associated with that process at all.

As I said, the article is a quick read, even though it cites a ton of examples to make its points (28 footnotes for a 15 paragraph piece). And that’s because the need for a federal anti-SLAPP law is so overwhelming and so obvious that it doesn’t need more than 15 straightforward paragraphs. And yet, the movement to get one through Congress never seems to go anywhere, and it’s been a major disappointment. Congress could stand up for free speech and against frivolous lawsuits, but it doesn’t seem to want to get it done.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You know what I love about the current political climate? It’s so HONEST. Black people HATE white people, and are using any excuse to BLAME them for things that have NOTHING TO DO with white people. Poverty, for example. You want to blame white people for poverty? You’re insane! We’re not poor! We’re rich! blame yourself and your lazy watermelon eating ways for your poorness, your bad taste, the big asses on your gorilla women and the fact that you can’t keep your pants over your underwear. Blame yourself and your beltless fashion born from your experience in PRISON! DON’T BLAME US! WE’RE FINE!

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JoeCool (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The truth tends to be unpopular with some segments of the population, and TD tends to be out front in telling the truth. This stirs up the crazies, who then try to shit bomb the site. Most of the folks here aren’t bad, and we tend to vote down the worst of the posts so they are hidden unless you click the button to view the post. But that can take a while, meaning you may have to have some hip-waders on to get through some of the threads here until the majority of the post have gotten down-voted enough to get hidden.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I do that sometimes, how did you know? My young beautiful wife really likes me to fuck her in the ass, and sometimes, I give her a little rimming before I get to it. Helps her relax. She’s so young and pretty and soft, I like it when she relaxes. And her anus tastes good! It tastes a little like soap. Like BEER SOAP! I love beer soap, what about you?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

The system has failed, as congress (the senate) has abdicated their sworn duties. Trump was impeached but the senate refused to enforce, very similar to everyday legal avoidance provided to the rich, famous and of course celebrities.

Lawn ‘n order is for the poor while the rich are allowed to do it.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

'My enemies could use that, why would I give it to them?'

Congress could stand up for free speech and against frivolous lawsuits, but it doesn’t seem to want to get it done.

The reasoning behind that is pretty clear I’d say, SLAPP lawsuits are a favorite tool of the rich and powerful to punish those below them for saying things that they don’t like, so it’s not hard to see why a law that would take that away would make for a hard sell among a group of rich and powerful people, who depend on the ‘donations’ of the rich and powerful to stay in office.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 'My enemies could use that, why would I give it to them?'

Right. You’re another Marxist. "the rich and powerful", you said that four times. Are you obsessed with the rich and powerful. In America (unlike where you live) EVERYONE can be rich and powerful. That’s why you assholes get VOTED OUT of the UK and VOTED OUT of America and GENERALLY EVERYONE THINKS YOU SUCK. I know what you’re going to say already, that’s how predictable you are, you phony pony Marxist fuckup.

Marxism is a political and economic way of organizing society, where the workers own the means of production instead of the rich and powerful. Socialism is a way of organizing a society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the proletariat and not the rich and powerful. Marx proposed that this was the next necessary step in the progress of history.

You Marxists are just lazy. You don’t want to WORK and BECOME rich and powerful, so GO FUCK YOUR LAZY SELVES!

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Anonymous Coward says:

Stephen T. Stone Arrested

Rapper Stephen T. Stone, who rose to fame on Techdirt for rapping about Barbara Streisand, is facing a murder charge after a man was fatally shot Friday in Shreveport, Louisiana, according to police.

The shooting took place Friday around 1 a.m. at Texaco convenience store, according to a press release from the Shreveport Police Department. Officers arrived and found a man with multiple gunshot wounds.

The man was identified by Caddo Parish Coroner’s Office as Danzeria O. Farris Jr., 32, of Shreveport. He died of his wounds at Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport Hospital, police said.

Stone, the 31-year-old rapper, whose real name is Christopher J. Dooley, was identified as a suspect in the shooting. Dooley claimed the shooting was in self-defense after a struggle over his vehicle, police said.

“Investigators were able to secure video footage of the incident that detectives believe showed that Dooley did not act in self-defense,” the release said.

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