QUESTIONS FOR THE CLASS: ‘Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, Who Cares? . . . Call Them Racists’. Is this quote from Spencer Ackerman evidence of actual malice? Could it be invoked in a future libel case against Ackerman or his employer to show a habit of recklessness? Would you hire someone who had made statements like that as a journalist?
Oh, it’s evidence of malice, alright. It’s just not actionable because none of the goons on Journolist actually started a campaign to smear Barnes or Rove (at least as far as we know). But here is the other question: Was a conspiracy to commit libel formed? And could you get that claim into court?
How about RICO or other organized crime statutes? Probably not, but they are worth a look too.
Was any overt act performed in furtherance of the plan? It’s not clear. Maybe there is more on Journolist. Maybe a subpoena is in order to search the records for evidence of such an act.
And how about 18 USC 241? Fred Barnes and/or Rove were trying to exercise their right to free speech, and would have been frustrated by this conspiracy:
If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same;…They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both;…
Nevermind. I just realized both Barnes and Rove are white, so the Justice department would refuse to bring the case anyway.