Press: Matters Of Fact

The court considers whether untrue opinions are libelous

Is calling someone a liar nothing more than a statement of opinion? And if so, is that opinion protected by the Constitution -- even if rooted in falsehood? These questions are central to a pending Supreme Court decision that may establish the extent to which journalists and others are accountable for airing their most passionate beliefs.

The case revolves around a 1974 brawl at a high school wrestling match in Lake County, Ohio. As a result of that fracas, former wrestling coach Michael Milkovich was officially censured and his team put on probation. The penalties, however, were set aside after a...

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