“Court Upholds N.C. Statute That Criminalizes Knowingly/Recklessly Libelous Statements About Candidates”

Eugene Volokh blogs:

Grimmett v. Costa, decided today by Judge Catherine Eagles (M.D.N.C.), refused to issue a preliminary injunction against a N.C. statute that makes it a misdemeanor

[f]or any person to publish or cause to be circulated derogatory reports with reference to any candidate in any primary or election, knowing such report to be false or in reckless disregard of its truth or falsity, when such report is calculated or intended to affect the chances of such candidate for nomination or election.

From the opinion, which I think is likely correct as to such narrow statutes focused on libels of candidates (because [1] narrowly crafted criminal libel statutes are generally constitutional under Supreme Court precedents, even though [2] broader laws banning lies in election campaigns, including ones that aren’t libelous of particular individuals, are likely unconstitutional)…

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