On September 14, 2023, University at Buffalo School of Law Professor Samantha Barbas joined us for a Constitution Day event to discuss her book, Actual Malice: Civil Rights and Freedom of the Press in New York Times v. Sullivan.
Actual Malice tells the full story of New York Times v. Sullivan, the case that grew out of segregationists’ attempts to quash reporting on the civil rights movement. In its landmark 1964 decision, the United States Supreme Court held that a public official must prove “actual malice” or reckless disregard of the truth to win a libel lawsuit, providing critical protections for free speech and freedom of the press.
Drawing on previously unexplored sources, including the archives of the New York Times Company and civil rights leaders, Samantha Barbas tracks the saga behind one of the most important First Amendment rulings in history. She situates the case within the turbulent 1960s and the history of the press, alongside striking portraits of the lawyers, officials, judges, activists, editors, and journalists who brought and defended the case.
This event was streamed online. You can now watch a recording here:
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