Re: Khald bin Mahfouz, picture aboved—“The t’ings dat yo’ li’ble /To read in his libel tourism lawsuits/Dey ain’t necessarily so!” (Apologies to George Gershwin)
Update: Governor David Patterson did in fact sign Rachel’s Law, as blogged by Jerry Gordon !!
Nonpareil first amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams includes a rigorous defense of the intrepid Rachel Ehrenfeld in this Wall Street Journal appeal to New York Governor David Patterson for his signature into law of a bill passed unanimously by the New York state legislature granting Ms. Ehrenfeld, and other potential US citizen defendants sued for libel abroad, the right to obtain a declaration in New York that their works are protected under American law.
Ehrenfeld’s travails have motivated Rep. Peter King (R., N.Y.) to propose federal legislation which would provide the same relief.
Abrams cites a late 1941 Supreme Court opinion which “…starkly distinguished American protection of speech from that of England.” Justice Hugo Black’s opinion stated plainly,
No purpose in ratifying the Bill of Rights was clearer…than of securing for the people of the United States much greater freedom of . . . expression . . . than the people of Great Britain had ever enjoyed
Let us hope Governor Patterson signs the bill today.