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SLAPP Suits and Casablanca

I just did the Lisa Macci show, The Justice Hour, which is always a wonderful experience. She is a “conservative,” but in the real tradition of less government and more freedom. Think Pat Buchanan / Intellectually honest – not neocon. (As a bizarre personal note, I consider myself to be a raging flaming liberal, yet the lawyers I get along with the best seem to all be conservatives…)

The show was about SLAPP suits and what can be done about them. We spoke for almost an hour, but the crux of the issue is this — the cure for bad speech is more speech — not unfounded defamation claims. I used the following scene from Casablanca as an illustration of what a SLAPP suit really is. (Yes, I used it on my prior post too, but it is just so damn perfect that it is impossible to over-use it).


This scene may take place in Morocco, involving the Germans and the French, but come on… this is an American classic. The director was clearly making a statement about Free Speech.

Can you think of any greater demonstration of what Free Speech is all about? There is bad speech (the nazi song) and good speech (La Marseillaise), and in the marketplace of ideas, the better idea wins out!

Of course, then the nasty little despot gets involved. Instead of filing a SLAPP suit, he uses his influence to manipulate the authorities into shutting down the forum for the free speech that threatens his power.

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