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Libel Tourism Law Looks Like It Will Pass

The U.S. Senate passed a law that will make libel judgments from other countries void in the United States unless the judgment was won in a trial where First Amendment rights were taken into account. (source). Previous posts on this issue here, here, and here.

It looks like the bill will pass the house as well.

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, charged that libel judgments in foreign courts were “undermining” freedom of speech and of the press and “chilling” open debate in the United States.

“While we cannot legislate changes to foreign law that are chilling protected speech in our country, we can ensure that our courts do not become a tool to uphold foreign libel judgments that undermine American First Amendment or due process rights,” he said in a statement. (source)

While this is good news for free speech, it really only will affect two or three Americans per year. What would be a *lot* stronger medicine would be if someone dealt with inter-state libel tourism. We need a federal anti-SLAPP law . It really doesn’t do any good to protect Americans from unconstitutional defamation judgments from foreign countries when you can still bankrupt virtually any American by filing a bogus defamation suit against them in the 48 states without real anti-SLAPP legislation.

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