Re: Discouraging Libel Tourism Decision
Stanley, I agree it’s an awful decision. (At the end of this piece at Human Events, I outline the federal appeals court case that resulted in today’s New York State decision). I have not completely lost hope. The panel in the federal court made clear in its opinion back in June that it was maintaining jurisdiction over the case to deal with any outstanding issues that remained after the state court ruled. That panel consists of three of the best judges in the Second Circuit and, as I’ve noted, they seemed quite sympathetic to Rachel’s plight.
But more to the point, I don’t think we should bank on the courts getting overly creative. Congress should enact law establishing a federal cause of action for this kind of intimidation — along the lines of the scheme Rachel complains of — but as to which we don’t have to rely on state ”long-arm” jurisdiction statutes to reach sophisticated Saudis who game the system by traveling to England to sue Americans but then claim Americans can’t touch them in America. If our courts won’t protect us from this kind of nonsense, our laws must — especially when the deprivation involved is something as fundamental as free speech.