Justice Clarence Thomas just explained:
The court concluded that SPLC’s “hate group” designation was not provably false because “‘hate group’ has a highly debatable and ambiguous meaning.” Id., at 1277. Additionally, the court held that Coral Ridge had not plausibly alleged that SPLC acted with “actual malice,” as defined by this Court’s decision in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U. S. 254, 280 (1964). See 406 F. Supp. 3d, at 1278–1280.
The Court of Appeals affirmed but rested its decision exclusively on the “actual malice” standard. ...
I would grant certiorari in this case to revisit the “actual malice” standard. This case is one of many showing how New York Times and its progeny have allowed media organizations and interest groups “to cast false aspersions on public figures with near impunity.” Tah, 991 F. 3d, at 254 (opinion of Silberman, J.). SPLC’s “hate group” designation lumped Coral Ridge’s Christian ministry with groups like the Ku Klux Klan and Neo-Nazis. It placed Coral Ridge on an interactive, online “Hate Map” and caused Coral Ridge concrete financial injury by excluding it from the AmazonSmile donation program. Nonetheless, unable to satisfy the “almost impossible” actual-malice standard this Court has imposed, Coral Ridge could not hold SPLC to account for what it maintains is a blatant falsehood. Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. v. Greenmoss Builders, Inc., 472 U. S. 749, 771 (1985) (White, J., concurring in judgment).
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