You are here

54 U. Louisville L. Rev. 1 (2016)
Difficulties and Dilemmas Regarding Defamatory Meaning in Ethnic Microcommunities: Accusations of Communism, Then and Now
Clay Calvert*
Abstract
      Judge Robert Sack declares in his defamation treatise that “what is defamatory will continue to change as mores and attitudes change.” Illustrating this proposition, Sack points out that falsely branding one a communist has “been considered defamatory in one age, not in another.” In the same vein, another commentator asserted in 2013 that “implying that an individual was a communist . . . was once actionable under defamation law, but such a claim today would likely be dismissed by a court.” This article argues, however, that this last contention—a libel suit today stemming from an allegation of communism likely will be dismissed—vastly oversimplifies a more complicated issue.
* Professor & Brechner Eminent Scholar in Mass Communication and Director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla. B.A., 1987, Communication, Stanford University; J.D. (Order of the Coif), 1991, McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific; Ph.D., 1996, Communication, Stanford University. Member, State Bar of California.