[Eugene Volokh] First Circuit Holds Most Anti-Libel Injunctions Are Unconstitutional

The Supreme Court has held that false, defamatory statements are generally constitutionally unprotected against civil damages liability, and even against prosecutions for criminal libel. (Sometimes the plaintiff or the prosecutor may have to show that the defendant knew the statements were false or likely false, though sometimes a civil plaintiff may just need to show the defendant should have known this, and sometimes there might even be strict liability; but important as these "mens rea" doctrines are, I will set them aside here.) But what about injunctions? From the mid-1800s to the late 1900s, the conventional wisdom was that such injunctions are unconstitutional "prior restraints," and the only remedies against defamation were civil damages or criminal punishment. But since the late 1900s, several state and federal appellate courts (state courts in California, Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, and Tennessee, and the federal Sixth Circuit)…

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