Jonathan Peters, writing for the Columbia Journalism Review, penned a piece outlining a potential blockbuster case that could change how courts view the crucial actual malice standard in defamation cases. The case, Armstrong v. Thompson, tees up the following question to the U.S. Supreme Court: Are all (or nearly all) law enforcement officers “public officials” under New York Times Co. v. Sullivan? Peters’ article explores the facts of the case, the history of the actual malice standard, and the implications of the outcome if the Court grants cert.
Although the chances of the Court reviewing this matter are slim, it’s a case worth watching. The case was distributed for Conference of Sept. 26, 2016.