The jury returned a verdict for Sullivan and awarded him 500000 in damages The

The jury returned a verdict for sullivan and awarded

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returned a verdict for Sullivan and awarded him $500,000 in damages. The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.Issue: Did Alabama's libel law unconstitutionally infringe on the First Amendment's freedom of speech and freedom of press protections?Holding: YesSignificance: Libel law was constitutionalized by applying the First Amendment, media orgs began publishing stories of government corruption and infringements on civil rights and the press no longer feared publishing these articles on government officials because they weren't afraid to be sued. More aggressive press made it more difficult for public officials to win libel suits as they now have to prove actual malice as the level of fault. Concurrence/Dissent: The court ruled an unanimous 9-0 decision in favor of NYT. The opinion was authored by Justice Brennan, saying that it is not enough to show that it is false for the press to be liable for libel. The plaintiff must show the statement was made with knowledge of its falsity. Brennan used the term "actual malice" to summarize this standard, and malice essentially means ignorance to the fact that the published statement was false. Justice Black wrote a concurrence with Justice Douglas stating that notonly do the 1st and 14th amendments “delimit” publics figures from filing libel suits, but prohibit them from filing them at all.
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