Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s defamation lawsuit against the New York Times has been reinstated by a panel of New York judges in the Second Court of Appeals. The decision reverses a previous district court decision that dismissed her 2017 lawsuit.
The judges wrote that the lower court decision was based on an “unusual process” used to determine the validity Palin’s claim.
[Read the judges’ opinion at this link: 2019-0806-palin-nyt-opinion-2nd-circuit]
“This case is ultimately about the First Amendment, but the subject matter implicated in this appeal is far less dramatic: rules of procedure and pleading standards,” Circuit Judge John M. Walker wrote. “We further conclude that Palin’s Proposed Amended Complaint plausibly states a claim for defamation and may proceed to full discovery.”
The case involves the Jan. 8, 2011 shooting at a political rally, when Jared Loughner shot Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona, killing six people and wounding Giffords.
Shortly before the attack, Palin’s political action committee “SarahPAC” had produced a map that superimposed a target symbol on certain Democratic congressional districts. Giffords’ district was in the crosshairs.
Although there was no evidence linking the image to the shooting of Giffords, and while there is a lot of evidence showing that Loughner acted on his own without being influenced by the political message, six years later an editorial in the New York Times, written after another political shooting occurred, blamed the Giffords’ massacre on the SaraPAC, saying it had incited the violence.
The decision to reopen the case comes at a time when Democrats are accusing President Donald Trump for the recent mass shooting outbreak.