By: Richard Lawless
It is no secret to anyone who reads the newspapers or watches the cable TV news that the American News Media is in a state of crisis. Journalistic standards have taken a backseat to political and social goals. No one newspaper better exemplifies this kind of abusive journalism than the Washington Post. And thanks to the Washington Post’s outrageous behavior, the Supreme Court is finally considering the constitutional impact of various State Anti-SLAPP Statutes that have provided protection for news media outlets that knowingly provide fake or slanted news reporting.
The case of Lawless v. Mulder (No.21-6866) on the Supreme Court Docket was such an abusive example of fake news reporting that the defendant, the Washington Post, the three Judges in the Washington Superior Court, and the District Attorney for Washington D.C. waived their rights to submit briefs in favor of the newspaper.
Mulder is one of many Editors that are being sued along with the Washington Post’s parent company for aiding and abetting in over sixty major felonies. Although the public lawsuit filings do not suggest the paper’s motivation for their many years of participation in these crimes, it may be safe to assume the newspaper was acting in its own business interest because the crimes implicated many liberal U.S. Senators.
In this Supreme Court filing the Supreme Court is being asked to overturn the application of the Washington, D.C. Anti-SLAPP Statute which dismissed a lawsuit against the Washington Post. The Court is also being asked to consider the constitutionality of the Anti-SLAPP Statutes because the Statutes routinely deny plaintiffs their right to a jury trial by dismissing the cases before they go to trial.
There are thirty-nine states that have passed these Anti-SLAPP Statutes and the state courts and the federal courts apply those statutes completely differently depending on what state or federal district court is hearing the cases.
In the federal court system four of the twelve federal court districts will not recognize the legal authority of the statutes, three of the federal court districts support the state statutes, one district is split and the remaining federal court districts are undecided.
The Supreme Court will never see a case with more divided legal opinions and case law. Thanks to the mind-numbing abuse of this Anti-SLAPP Statute in the Washington Post case, the Supreme Court will finally have to address these statutes.