396 U.S. 1049 (1970)

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U.S. Supreme Court

GINZBURG v. GOLDWATER , 396 U.S. 1049 (1970)

396 U.S. 1049

Ralph GINZBURG et al., petitioners,
No. 687.

Supreme Court of the United States

January 26, 1970

Rehearing Denied March 9, 1970.

See 397 U.S. 978.

Harold E. Kohn and David H. Marion, for petitioners. John J. Wilson, for respondent.

Petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Denied. The CHIEF JUSTICE took no part in the consideration or decision of this petition.

Mr. Justice BLACK, with whom Mr. Justice DOUGLAS joins, dissenting. Shortly before the 1964 Presidential election, Fact magazine published an issue entitled 'The Unconscious of a Conservative: A special Issue on the Mind of Barry Goldwater.' The thrust of the two main articles in this issue of Fact was that Senator Barry Goldwater, the 1964 Republican nominee for the Presidency, had a severely paranoid personality and was psychologically unift for the high office to which he aspired. The articles in the magazine attempted to support the thesis that Senator Goldwater was mentally ill by citing allegedly factual incidents from his public and private life and by reporting the results of a 'poll' of 12,356 psychiatrists, together with a 'sampling' of the comments made by the 2, 417 psychiatrists who responded to the poll questionnaire which the magazine mailed out. Shortly after the publication of the 'special Goldwater issue,' Senator Goldwater commenced this libel action for damages against Fact Magainze, Inc., Warren against Fact Magazine, Inc., Warren Boroson, the named author of one of the and publisher of Fact. The suit was brought in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on the basis of diversity of citizenship. After 15 days of trial, the jury returned a verdict against each of the defendants. Although the jury awarded Goldwater only $1.00 in compensatory damages against all three defendants, it went on to

Page 396 U.S. 1049 , 1050

award him punitive damages of $25,000 against Ginzburg and $50,000 against Fact Magazine, Inc. In their appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Ginzburg and the other defendants attacked this award of damages, arguing that it severely penalized them for exercising their First Amendment rights to free speech and a free press. The Court of Appeals found, however, that the defendants had been accorded at trial all the First Amendment protection to which they were entitled under this Court's holdings in New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, (1964), and its progeny. New York Times and the cases following it permit public figures and officials to recover damages for libelous statements made about them if the publication was made with 'actual malice-that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.' New York Times v. Sullivan, supra, at 280, 84 S.Ct. at 726. See, e. g., Rosenblatt v. Baer, 383 U.S. 75 (1966). The Court of Appeals found that the District Court had properly applied the New York Times 'actual malice' rule and affirmed Goldwater's libel award. Defendants Ginzburg and Fact Magazine, Inc., then petitioned this Court for a writ of certiorari to review the judgment of the Court of Appeals. It is this petition which this Court today denies.

Dissenting opinion by Mr. Justice BLACK with whom Mr. Justice DOUGLAS joins.

I cannot subscribe to the result the Court reaches today because I firmly believe that the First Amendment guarantees to each person in this country the unconditional right to print what he pleases about public affairs. See Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts, 388 U.S. 130, 170 (concurring and dissenting opinion); and New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 293 (1964) (concurring opinion). This case perhaps more than any I have seen in this area convinces me that the New York Times constitutional rule is wholly inadequate to assure the 'uninhibited, [396 U.S. 1049 , 1051]

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