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Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage Act

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Citation Edit

Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage Act (SPEECH Act), Pub. L. No. 111–223, §2, 124 Stat. 2380 (2010).

Overview Edit

Congress enacted the SPEECH Act in 2010 in response to the perceived threat of "libel tourism," a form of international forum-shopping in which a plaintiff chooses to file a defamation claim in a foreign jurisdiction with more favorable substantive law. In enacting the statute, Congress found that "by seeking out foreign jurisdictions that do not provide the full extent of free-speech protections to authors and publishers that are available in the United States" and by suing United States authors or [publisher]]s in those foreign jurisdictions, some persons were "obstructing" the free expression rights of domestic authors and publishers and "chilling" domestic citizens' First Amendment interest in "receiving information on matters of importance."[1] It further found that "[g]overnments and courts of foreign countries scattered around the world have failed to curtail this practice . . . and foreign libel judgments inconsistent with United States [F]irst [A]mendment protections are increasingly common."[2]

The SPEECH Act provides that a domestic court "shall not recognize or enforce a foreign judgment for defamation" unless it satisfies both First Amendment and due process considerations.[3]

Under the "First Amendment considerations" provision of the SPEECH Act, a foreign defamation judgment is unrecognizable and unenforceable unless

(A) the defamation law applied in the foreign court's adjudication provided at least as much protection for freedom of speech and press in that case as would be provided by the [F]irst [A]mendment to the Constitution of the United States and by the constitution and law of the State in which the domestic court is located; or
(B) even if the defamation law applied in the foreign court's adjudication did not provide as much protection for freedom of speech and press as the [F]irst [A]mendment to the Constitution of the United States and the constitution and law of the State, the party opposing recognition or enforcement of that foreign judgment would have been found liable for defamation by a domestic court applying the [F]irst [A]mendment to the Constitution of the United States and the constitution and law of the State in which the domestic court is located.[4]

References Edit

  1. See Findings to Pub. L. No. 111–223, § 2, 124 Stat. 2380, reproduced in the Notes section of 28 U.S.C. §4101.
  2. Id.
  3. See 28 U.S.C. §4102.
  4. Id. §4102(a)(1).

Source Edit

  • Trout Point Lodge, Ltd. v. Handshoe, 2013 WL 4766530, at *4-*5 (5th Cir. Sept. 5, 2013) (full-text).

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