The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

Short Circuit: A Roundup of Recent Federal Court Decisions

Football prayers, foreign agents, and a fraternity of judges.

|

Please enjoy the latest edition of Short Circuit, a weekly feature from the Institute for Justice.

Last year, the Supreme Court held that if states provide funding for students attending private schools, then they can't withhold that funding from students attending religious private schools. But four months later, the First Circuit upheld just such a religious exclusion in Maine on the basis that funding was being restricted not because of the status of a particular school as religious, but because the money could be put to a religious use. Over at The Wall Street Journal, IJ Senior Attorney Michael Bindas explains why SCOTUS should grant cert in Carson v. Makin and put to rest the idea that the blurry distinction between religious "status" and "use" is constitutionally significant.

  • Two former Liberian government officials sue a human-rights organization for defaming them, saying that the group suggested they took bribes when they are, in fact, totally righteous dudes. D.C. Circuit: This lawsuit is barred by the First Amendment. Dissent: Shouldn't it matter that there's no evidence anyone was bribed? Also, by the by, New York Times v. Sullivan is "a threat to American Democracy." Also, the media is biased against Republicans, and Candy Crowley was a bad debate moderator in 2012.
  • What do you get when you mix the super-complicated area of Indian law with the super-complicated area of water rights? Dismissal by the D.C. Circuit because the rancher-plaintiffs lack standing. Ranchers claim Klamath, Ore. tribes' enforcement of their water rights causes the ranchers an injury and sue the feds who oversee those rights. But even if the feds acted unlawfully, says the court, the tribes would still have the power to enforce those rights, and weren't made parties to the lawsuit.
  • Pennsylvania wants to sell a juvenile detention center, and an Islamic education group wants to buy it. But several Pennsylvania legislators allegedly scuttle the deal—there are overtones of Islamophobia throughout—and the property goes to another bidder. Third Circuit: Doesn't matter. You can't get damages from lawmakers for doing law. The legislators are protected by absolute immunity for their legislative acts and qualified immunity for everything else.
  • The Defense Department is supposed to post certain military discharge records online with personal information redacted. But—whoops—lots of information wasn't redacted. So in 2019 DoD temporarily yanked all 245,000 records while it figured out how to do the redactions, even though the records are supposed to be public. Fourth Circuit: No suing about that. There's no such thing as a challenge to general agency mismanagement. (As of March 1, about 189,000 records are back up.)
  • What, precisely, does it mean to be an agent of a foreign government (and thus subject to registration with the Attorney General)? The Fourth Circuit has the deets. The upshot? An executive with Gen. Mike Flynn's lobbying group really should have disclosed this his campaign to discredit a Turkish dissident was on behalf of the Turkish government. Conviction reinstated.
  • An Indiana minor can get an abortion without parental consent if she gets a court order, but her parents must still be notified before the abortion unless the court determines that notice isn't in her best interests. Seventh Circuit (2019): The notice requirement is likely unconstitutional, so it's preliminarily enjoined. SCOTUS (2020): Please reconsider in light of our most recent abortion case. Seventh Circuit (2021): Okay. It's still likely unconstitutional.
  • Thoughts and prayers for Scott Kennedy, branded eternally in the Federal Reporter as "the tormented boyfriend." Though in fairness, that description—courtesy of the Seventh Circuit, affirming his erstwhile girlfriend/escort's conviction for wire fraud—seems not inapt.
  • A school-resource officer at Columbia, Mo. high school escorts a sixteen-year-old student to a room, where two police officers interrogate her about a sexual assault that took place at the house of a different student who happened to share her first name. The student sues, inter alios, the school-resource officer. Who is entitled to qualified immunity, holds an Eighth Circuit panel (speaking through Judge Morris Sheppard Arnold, one of only two judges (fact-check us if we're wrong) in U.S. history to share a federal court with a sibling. (The other was his brother, Richard.) (Yes, we said "federal court," not "federal judiciary as a whole." Don't come at us with gotcha talk of Charles Breyer.)
  • Does the University of Oregon's practice of paying "retention bonuses" to keep faculty members from fleeing to other universities violate the Equal Pay Act or Title VII? Ninth Circuit: Very possibly. This female psychology professor has adequately alleged that she was paid less than male colleagues doing the same job. Dissent: Professors aren't interchangeable. They weren't doing the same job, and this ruling will put universities in the Ninth Circuit at a competitive disadvantage with universities that continue to pay retention bonuses.
  • Bremerton, Wash. public high school football coach kneels at midfield for a brief prayer at the end of each game. Players begin joining him, and, eventually, this morphs into motivational, religious speeches. Administrators suspend him after he declines their request to stop. Does this violate the coach's free speech or free exercise rights? Ninth Circuit (2017): No preliminary injunction. Ninth Circuit (2021): No, full stop. Indeed, allowing the prayers to continue might have violated the Establishment Clause. Concurrence: The coach wasn't required to jump into the nearest broom closet to privately pray, but praying with a crowd like this crossed the line.
  • Ghanaian man comes to the United States on an F-1 visa, which allows him to stay in the country as long as he's enrolled in an approved educational institution. He's arrested, charged with first degree rape, and held in jail for 13 months until a jury acquits him. BIA: And for those 13 months he wasn't enrolled in school, so we're deporting him. Tenth Circuit: That's fine.
  • Won't someone think of the poor Georgia corrections officials who were "entrapped" into helping a confidential informant transport drugs? Eleventh Circuit: We will think about two of the four, who should have been able to present an entrapment defense. The others are hosed, though.
  • Judge Rosenbaum of the Eleventh Circuit has some additional thoughts about a ruling on "consensual" police encounters from last August, urging the Supreme Court to adopt a sort of mini-Miranda for stop-and-talks.

In 2019, residents of Castle Hills, Texas elected Sylvia Gonzalez, a 72-year-old retiree, as the first Hispanic councilwoman in city history. But the mayor and other officials launched a retaliation campaign against Sylvia after she ruffled some feathers by proposing to replace the city manager. The campaign included a pair of criminal investigations and a nonsensical criminal charge that resulted in her arrest (and her mugshot appearing on TV), as well as litigation to strip her of her seat that cost Sylvia tens of thousands of dollars to defend. Last year, Sylvia filed a civil suit against the city and several officials, and this week a federal judge ruled that the suit can proceed. The right to be free of retaliatory arrest in these circumstances is clearly established, so the mayor, police chief, and other officials are not entitled to qualified immunity. Click here to read more.

NEXT: N.Y. Court Upholds Repeal of Religious Exemption to Vaccination Requirement

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

Please to post comments

52 responses to “Short Circuit: A Roundup of Recent Federal Court Decisions

  1. Couldn’t a sectarian private school also use government money for a religious use?

    Couldn’t any recipient of any government money use it for a religious use?

    What is the legal definition of religious use?

  2. That is quite the dissent in the McClain case.

    Although….Perhaps NYT v Sullivan could be revisited by the current court? There have been a number of high profile cases and publications which skirt the very edge of “actual malice”…. Perhaps a different standard could be set?

    1. Yeah I read it over and I had to glance a couple times with, is this really in a judicial opinion? I dont even disagree with all of it, but it seems very out of place for a court of appeals judge to just be like, yeah the past 30 years of case law is wrong.

      I know Thomas has questioned Sullivan, but at the same time this is the most pro-first amendment court in history I strongly doubt they are just going to scrap one of the most significant first amendment cases just like that.

      1. Scrap may be a strong word.

        Revise may be better. There have been several high profile cases where major media organizations have parroted statements that were just outright wrong. “Anonymous sources” used without any type of fact checking or source checking. And always in the same direction.

        1. I call BS on “always in the same direction.” I don’t believe that that would be true for the past 4 years. And even if so, totally explained by the party in the White House being Republican.

          Now, after 4 years of a Biden/Dem administration, we do not see a single example of the media quoting anonymous sources, then I’ll totally admit that your point is correct. I expect that what will actually happen is that Fox News, MSNBC, 60 Minutes, WaPo (etc etc etc etc) will have quoted to anonymous sources hundreds, or thousands, of times. And will have done the same source-checking (or lack thereof) as was done during Trump’s time.

          1. So Santa, here’s the question.

            Can you find an example of a major media organization quoting “anonymous sources” during the Obama administration to criticize it? How many examples? That’s 8 years worth of potential stories.

            How widely spread was it?

          2. I don’t see the media publishing stories with anonymous sources about the election being stolen, or about the world being run by a cabal of pedophiles.

            And rightly so, although I’m sure they could find the sources.

            But they are fine publishing anonymously sourced stories that seem correct to them, even if it turns out to be BS.

  3. Yeah, that stuff about players kneeling on the field has to be nipped in the bud, or who knows where it will end.

    1. Boy, I had a different reaction to this case. Did you read the summary of his actual actions? The problem was not that he was praying after a game, it was that he insisted on marching out to the most central and visible part of the field and he insisted that he do it immediately after the game. The school was fine with him waiting a bit and praying after the crowd had left (he said that the reason for his prayer had nothing to do with audience participation, spreading the Good Word, etc), and he even did this one time…and the school was perfectly happy with this.

      The facts of this particular case seem to be clear that he was offered a bunch of different options, he refused to consider any of them, and seemed to be saying to the school and school district, “Eat my middle finger. I want to pray, and to do it only in the exact fashion that I want. Even if there are harmful consequences.” (And, as the facts tell us, there were plentiful and varied harmful consequences.)

      What is harmful about this case is that it makes religious people look like assholes. So, the next coach who wants to quietly offer a prayer, now may have to deal with administrators saying, “Our concern is with this past case, where a private prayer morphed into a group prayer involving students–including some who felt pressured to participate–and this morphed into non-private prayers, but also motivational speeches. So, we’re gonna have to turn down your request, due to this past bad actor. We’re afraid of letting the camel’s nose under the tent.”

      What would it take for you to feel that this coach had indeed gone too far? Him performing a baptism on the 50 yard line each week? Something else???

      1. “What would it take for you to feel that this coach had indeed gone too far?”

        You know, I haven’t read the horrid details of that case, so I’ll just concede that my attempt at a joke about NFL kneeling was insufficiently sensitive to the suffering of the victims in this case.

        1. Apology accepted. Fortunately, in this case, the victims were merely threatened, and no actual physical assaults occurred (as far as I can tell). I’ve never been the target of repeated, organized, attempts to threaten me. But I’d imagine that the mental and/or psychological distress of being this sort of victim would be more than zero. You may be blase about this. Thank God (heh) that most people differ from you in this aspect.

          It sometimes is the case that assholes happen to also be religious people. Seems to be what happened here. I certainly don’t see this case as anything remotely threatening my religious liberty. Or your religious liberty.

          1. “Apology accepted.”

            That’s nice.

            “I’ve never been the target of repeated, organized, attempts to threaten me….You may be blase about this.”

            Wait, you’re *not* accepting my apology then? OK, I withdraw it.

            1. Cal,
              I get that you are, to a large extent, speaking tongue in cheek. But I think you are having a bit of a logic fail. You apologizing for X does not mean that you suddenly stop believing in X. If I say, “I’m genuinely sorry that I don’t trust Jews (or Blacks, or Democrats, or Iranians, or gays), it of course does not mean that I suddenly have learned to trust them. I think it’s much more reasonable to assume that I did not trust Jews, I continue to not trust Jews, and I feel bad about this, because I recognize that I’m prejudiced.

              You come across as pretty indifferent to the victims of harassment/threats in the above case. Me accepting or not accepting your apology does not suddenly make you not blase about it. On the other hand; if you came out and said something like, “Hmm…I had not thought about those people. I think they were treated horribly by the coach’s supporters and it must have been traumatic for these victims.” . . . well, then I’d have had a very different reaction. And my change in reaction would be based on your 180-degree change in attitude towards the victims.

              1. “If I say, “I’m genuinely sorry that I don’t trust Jews”

                Let me put it this way: Fuck you.

                1. I’m sorry, what I should have said was “fuck you, you lying sack of shit.”

                  Now fuck off, and when you get to wherever you fucked off to, fuck off from there, and so on, until you’ve jumped in the lake.

  4. Just a bit of fact-finding concerning,
    “Does the University of Oregon’s practice of paying “retention bonuses” to keep faculty members from fleeing to other universities violate the Equal Pay Act or Title VII? Ninth Circuit: Very possibly. ”

    Professor Freyd had written 140 research papers and has an h-index of 42. That is pretty good for her field. However, she has not written a highly cited (more than 30 cites) in five years.
    The department chair has 160 papers and an h-index of 43. But as chair he would get paid more.
    I did not have time to check all of U. Oregon’s Psych faculty, but it does seem that Prof. Freyd is a top performer there and should be compensated accordingly.

    Now let’s look at Stanford. Prof James Gross has 428 publications and an h-index of 106! Hazel Markus has 135 publications and an h-index of 60. James McClelland has 180 publications and an h-index of 68.

    One has to conclude that Prof. Freyd is scarcely at the pinnacle of her chosen field. Could she get an offer from Stanford? Or Yale or any top 10 psych department? Who knows. But any claim of equal work in academia is, in fact, subject to question.
    The upper researches of academia are fiercely competitive. Moreover, there are many versions of “compensation” besides pay that one would have to consider (lesser teaching loads, special university-provided research funds, compensation of special administrative functions, extra laboratory space, and more).

    This may be another case of the 9th Circuit heading for reversal.

    1. Reversal? No. This case was still merely at the summary judgement stage. The facts you lay out will all be relevant at trial. But those are facts that don’t make it in to the court’s decision yet.

      1. It will be interesting to see where this goes. But the decision seems to imply that Freyd is a top scholar in her field. If so, she would have had plenty of nibbles from search committees and many opportunity to look for retention perks. But the statistics that I found suggest only that she places well among her Oregon colleagues.

        I will say that my department makes exceedingly few offers to tenured faculty elsewhere, because doing so uses a hiring opportunity and most often the person uses an offer for a top department to get some large perk or promotion at their present university.

        1. I think you’re reading too much into it still. At this point, most of Freyd’s claims are taken as true whether or not they really are. All the court really said was that it’s plausible that Freyd is a top scholar in her field and that, if so, her claims would be legally valid.

          I tend to agree with you that her claims are … optimistic at best. But it will take the actual trial to test it.

    2. Outside of everything else, I must object — these professors are paid to TEACH! The funding lines for their salaries come from people who are paying them to TEACH and what sucks is that they aren’t evaluated on that…

      1. Just not true. They are paid primarily to do research. Teaching in many universities is not much more than a taken-for-granted chore, like filling out paperwork, part of their job but not the main part, and not something that success with will result in their being seen as especially successful or worthy of raises or promotions.

  5. Just because the dissent in the first case had a wholely unnecessary and gratuitous attack on Bivens, Pope, etc (none of which had any relation to this case) … I have to ask, if there is no constitutional remedy for any of these constitutional violations, do they exist at all?

    In fact, I have always thought at the founding the amendments were enforced BY tort. I tend to think the exclusionary rule and Miranda are ridiculous cases, but you can only get rid of them if you establish a tort system in its place, which is fairer and more originalist.

    1. My understanding, and I may be incorrect, is in the founding era peace officers were not considered government employees. Therefore they were not covered by sovereign or qualified immunity. The warrant “requirement” in the 4th amendment wasn’t actually a requirement that a warrant is needed to search. It acted as immunity for the officer by conferring a state actor designation on him. With no immunities there was nothing to prevent tort suits if they violated the law.

      However, law enforcement evolved and the modern, and long ago, police force is now very clearly a state actor at the outset. That is big change in the way to evaluate what remedies are available. If they are state actors they are covered by immunities, unless waived, so that would suggest no torts (why I think Bivens is incorrect). At the same time when the government does something illegal forward looking relief to stop the violation in the form of injunctions have always been allowed. The exclusionary rule is basically an injunction against the use of unconstitutionally obtained evidence (why I think it is correct given current circumstances). This can further be seen to explain why the Court correctly does not exclude evidence illegally obtained by a private individual and turned over to police. The violation wasn’t by the state so are not liable. Even originalism recognizes that a new thing needs to be evaluated on what general principles were. A state actor police force is new so it needs to be evaluated under remedies standards that existed at the time.

      Miranda was created out of whole cloth. It doesn’t even prevent what it purports to prevent. That one is a mess.

  6. Truth…

    Although the bias against the Republican Party—not
    just controversial individuals—is rather shocking today, this is
    not new; it is a long-term, secular trend going back at least to
    the ’70s.10 (I do not mean to defend or criticize the behavior of
    any particular politician). Two of the three most influential
    papers (at least historically), The New York Times and The
    Washington Post, are virtually Democratic Party broadsheets.
    And the news section of The Wall Street Journal leans in the
    same direction. The orientation of these three papers is
    followed by The Associated Press and most large papers across
    the country (such as the Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, and
    Boston Globe). Nearly all television—network and cable—is
    a Democratic Party trumpet. Even the government-supported
    National Public Radio follows along.

    1. Whining, not truth. As the Judge seems to concede major newspapers and tv stations are no more ‘Democratic’ than the cities they serve. The Republican Party has been embracing anti-intellectualism and anti-cosmopolitianism and then whines when big city knowledge class workers don’t like them…

      1. So you concede they are just mouthpieces for the DNC, but that is fine (in your mind) because that is their audience….

        1. Leaning left = being a mouthpiece for the DNC, indeed this is a critical distinction between conservative media and mainstream media, the former really is a mouthpiece for the RNC while the latter has the leaning left of most in the knowledge class.

          1. “knowledge class…” that is some smug BS there. Modern liberals are too dumb to realize they are stooges that have been hoodwinked into thinking they are special snowflakes.

            1. Lol. What a comically stereotypical characterization of liberals that is more projection than anything else.

      2. Again, your claims are not true. Television media has been consistently biased against Republicans for decades.

        Here’s the standard list of research that supports this claim:
        A Measure of Media Bias [Groseclose, Milyo, 2004]
        Media Bias and Reputation [Gentzkow, Shapiro, 2005]
        Presidents and Front-page News – How America’s Newspapers Cover the Bush Administration [Peake, 2007]
        The Presidency and Local Media – Local Newspaper Coverage of President George W. Bush [Eshbaugh-Soha, Peake, 2008]
        Who’s the Fairest of them All – An Empirical Test for Partisan Bias on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox News [Groeling, 2008]
        What Drives Media Slant – Evidence from US Daily Newspapers [Gentzkow, Shapiro, 2010]
        When Corrections Fail [Nyhan, Neifler, 2010]
        Exploring media bias with semantic analysis tools – validation of the Contrast Analysis of Semantic Similarity [Holtzman, Schott, et al., 2010]
        Opening the Political Mind [Nyhan, Reifler, 2011]
        Shifting Ideologies – Re-examining Media Bias [Gasper, 2011]
        THE NEWS MEDIA AS NETWORKED POLITICAL ACTORS – Italian politics [Vaccari, 2011]
        Critique of Groseclose-Milyo [Nyhan, 2012]

        1. This is a cherry-picked list with studies many of which have deeply flawed methodologies (Groseclose for example bases his, iirc on bias in sourcing, as if citing the Brookings Institute and the Heritage Foundation are equivalent, not to mention this is one facet of possible bias).

          Just take a look at Fox’s prime time, Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity literally appear at Trump rallies, meet privately with him to discuss strategy, etc., in ways that CNN’s Prime Time line up talking heads does not do with Biden. In fact, one can easily see that CNN is not Fox’s counterpart if they watch a network that *is* Fox’s counterpart, MSNBC. *That’s* what a counterpart to Fox looks like, and it noticeably ain’t CNN.

          1. “in ways that CNN’s Prime Time line up talking heads does not do with Biden.”

            Great! Now do Cuomo.

            1. Crappy new goalposts, dude.

              And even so CNN is still dragging Cuomo – still not equal to FOX’s obsequiousness.

          2. A nice total failure to refute any of the points raised in those peer-reviewed academic papers, as you couldn’t even manage to rise to the level of Nyhan’s criticism (and even he admits the Groseclose’s results are mostly accurate). You even manage to reinforce the results of one of them, but don’t even realize it!

            Your personal perceptions of CNN and Fox do far more to reveal your own personal biases than refute any bias in the various media outlets.

  7. “Ghanaian man comes to the United States on an F-1 visa, which allows him to stay in the country as long as he’s enrolled in an approved educational institution. He’s arrested, charged with first degree rape, and held in jail for 13 months until a jury acquits him. BIA: And for those 13 months he wasn’t enrolled in school, so we’re deporting him. Tenth Circuit: That’s fine.”

    Thats just ridiculous.

    I suppose it follows textually, but cases like these really cause me to abandon textualism as a good legal philosophy I mean, the whole point of the justice system is to reconcile cases where the real world and the letter of the law dont line up, and to resolve the conflicts that arise.

    Not to create new law, judges shouldn’t inject their own ideology and beliefs, but also, the intent of the F-1 visa system … isnt this.

    1. Agreed. You are much more accepting of this…I find it absolutely appalling. If you’re supposed to do X, and you simply cannot do X because the government deliberately and consciously acts to prevent you from doing X, then one really wishes there was a live human being that could intervene and say, “No, govt; you’re enjoined from doing what you want to do, as his failure to perform was 100% due to your own actions.” (Of course, I wish the court here had been that “human being” that could have and would have stepped in.)

      1. One can imagine any number of horrible scenarios that interrupt education for a student for enough time that they can’t be enrolled through no fault of their own.

        Also couldn’t this permit President Cotton to place Chinese F1 students in immigration detention for enough time that they are no longer enrolled and then can be deported?

    2. Interesting how the court says that textualism means you can’t look at “extra-textual sources” yet the whole case turns on what they found on two online dictionaries.

    3. I agree; If he’d been convicted, it would be different. But in case of an acquittal?

      It’s my general view that the government should always make the defendant whole after an acquittal. Using it as an excuse to make the defendant worse off? Truly obnoxious.

      OTOH, I’m a pretty committed textualist, and if they can’t find some textual loophole, well, there you are, the law is the law. This is what executive clemency is for, maybe they can wake Biden up from a nap long enough to engage in some.

      1. Idk, the logic seemed somewhat tortured to me. One problem with textualism is you might completely abandon the concept of legislative intent or purpose for elaborate syntax games. Claiming “to fail” simply means just not succeed independent of the actor’s actions isn’t necessarily the most natural reading. To use an extreme example to illustrate the absurdity, no one would say Ariel Castro’s victims failed to renew their driver’s license.

    4. If you read the footnotes it seems that he did have an administrative avenue to re-start full time education but did not pursue that for some reason.

      Also, his argument relies upon statutory interpretation, which the court probably got correct. There was no discussion of any assertions of equity or common law, which he might have been able to use (if applicable in immigration proceedings) so I don’t think any were raised.

      This case is not as outrageous as it appears on its face. I suspect he got some bad advice along the way and this was the best case he could make given the circumstances.

    5. The bigger question is why he couldn’t remain a student.

      If the institution wanted to, it could have maintained his student status while he was in jail…

      1. As always, Dr. Ed is confident on a subject about which he knows nothing. A student visa is not based on “student status.” It’s based on actually being a student. He could not, of course, attend classes while he was in jail.

    6. It might be ridiculous but deportation after a student visa expires because of criminal charges where there is no conviction is routine. Look up the case of Yunsong Zhao. And then there is always the fake University of Farmington that ICE setup to entrap foreign students so that they could be deported.

  8. Why are conservatives so convinced that overruling Sullivan is going to help them and not result in potentially ruinous lawsuits against people they support? Additionally why are they convinced that social media companies who would be liable as publisher without Section 230 won’t engage in a mass deplatforming and intense moderation of right wing trolls and commentators? What happens when Soros or Hillary or any other target of the right wing media/blogosphere decides that it might be worth suing now that no actual malice is required and they can get judgments directly from Twitter?

    1. 1. “So convinced” is an overstatement. But in an era when “mainstream media” is overwhelmingly liberal, well…

      2. Re: 230. Ummm…that’s what they’re doing NOW (mass deplatforming of right wing commentators) if you hadn’t noticed.

      3. “When Soros”…. Well, then people will need to be more careful about what they say.

  9. When understatment crosses the line into comedy gold

    “Admittedly, a number of Fox’s commentators lean as far to the right as the commentators and reporters of the mainstream outlets lean to the left.”

    There’s really nothing comparable in the ‘MSM’ to Fox’s bias (that’s actually too weak of a term, they are a coordinated wing of the conservative base of the GOP)

    “to be sure, there are a few notable exceptions to DemocraticParty ideological control: Fox News, The New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal’s”

    Yeah, just the biggest news network and the 2nd biggest national news paper.

    1. Pot, kettle, TDS.

    2. You repeatedly make these assertions, and are repeatedly wrong.

      Decades of research have shown that the Democrat-supporting media is as generally biased as the talking head at Fox, and the extreme examples are more biased.
      And that was before Trump – the Leftist media has gone all in on party propaganda since 2016.

      Standard list of academic publications for you to review on the subject:
      A Measure of Media Bias [Groseclose, Milyo, 2004]
      Media Bias and Reputation [Gentzkow, Shapiro, 2005]
      Presidents and Front-page News – How America’s Newspapers Cover the Bush Administration [Peake, 2007]
      The Presidency and Local Media – Local Newspaper Coverage of President George W. Bush [Eshbaugh-Soha, Peake, 2008]
      Who’s the Fairest of them All – An Empirical Test for Partisan Bias on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox News [Groeling, 2008]
      What Drives Media Slant – Evidence from US Daily Newspapers [Gentzkow, Shapiro, 2010]
      When Corrections Fail [Nyhan, Neifler, 2010]
      Exploring media bias with semantic analysis tools – validation of the Contrast Analysis of Semantic Similarity [Holtzman, Schott, et al., 2010]
      Opening the Political Mind [Nyhan, Reifler, 2011]
      Shifting Ideologies – Re-examining Media Bias [Gasper, 2011]
      THE NEWS MEDIA AS NETWORKED POLITICAL ACTORS – Italian politics [Vaccari, 2011]
      Critique of Groseclose-Milyo [Nyhan, 2012]

  10. Re: The two Liberians case….

    I didn’t read the case but would it matter if they’re outside the US and outside the jurisdiction of our constitution?

    Supposed I avowed that Putin and Mohammed (the Islamic prophet), fucked donkeys while looking at each other.

    Would they, under our Constitution, be able to sue me?

    1. Sure. You committed the tort against them in the United States. US courts have subject matter jurisdiction over defamation, and can get personal jurisdiction over you with proper service. Remember Elon musk and the cave diver? Well that guy never was in the US and Musk’s statements, made from the US, were directed at an English guy living in Thailand. But the defamation case was.