The evidence was adduced in the Post article itself. Phillips stated what he felt at that time, and it’s not within the court’s purview to say he didn’t really feel that way. Whether his feelings were reasonable might be something the court could rule on, but for defamation that’s irrelevant. If your feeling is completely irrational and unreasonable you’re still entitled to say you felt that way and your statement of how you felt can’t be defamatory to the other party.
Note that saying how you felt is something different from falsely saying the other party did some specific thing to make you feel that way, but Sandmann couldn’t point to anything Phillips said he did that he didn’t clearly do.
Or no accusation of anything illegal.
If I sue you for putting a funny hat on your dog, my suit is going to be dismissed. Even if I have 100% ironclad proof that you put a funny hat on your dog. Because putting funny hats on dogs is not actually illegal. The evidence doesn’t matter if the thing I am accusing you of is not illegal. I can refer to putting a funny hat on your dog as “arson” if I want, but that’s not the legal definition of arson.
Similarly, if I were to say “Nick Sandmann is a big stupid doodoo head,” and Nick Sandmann were to sue me for defamation, that suit would be dismissed. Because even if I did say that about him, calling someone a big stupid doodoo head is not defamatory.
Which is more or less what happened here. The judge determined that even if 100% of the accusations in the lawsuit were 100% true, none of them broke any laws.
There’s no need to make any determinations about evidence if the plaintiff is accusing the defendant of doing things that are legal. The judge doesn’t need to go to trial and put my photos of you putting a funny hat on your dog before a jury, so they can evaluate whether or not you really put that funny hat on your dog, thereby committing arson. The judge can just say “that’s not what ‘arson’ means” and dismiss the case. At that point, whether or not I can prove you put a funny hat on your dog is irrelevant.
For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we start out with a comment from Anonymous Anonymous Coward in response to the refusal of qualified immunity for a SWAT team that hurled a flashbang in the direction of a child:
The disparity between the various appeals courts has me baffled. Here they denied qualified immunity for irresponsible behavior. On the other hand a different court suggested that shooting at a dog that wasn’t attacking any police and hitting a child was reasonable.
Does this suggest that the courts themselves aren’t reasonable? Or is it just ideological differences between different circuits? Isn’t there some agreement somewhere as to what reasonable means?
“this guy was OK to toss firebombs and try to blow up propane tanks with a long rifle because.. HE HATES TRUMP!”
I don’t condone the actions of Willem Van Spronsen. But I do understand his intent. It was less about “hating Trump” and more about “shut down the concentration camps on American soil”.
“Who’s a terrorist?”
Depends on who you ask. Ask the government, and they’ll likely tell you that anyone who criticizes and insults the government could possibly become a terrorist — if they aren’t one already. (Ask the FBI, and they’ll tell you to wait five days so they can arrest one…that they likely made themselves.)
We’re just responding to ACTUAL THREATS!
In fairness to Van Spronsen, American concentration camps exist and are holding Repugnant Cultural Others (according to Trump, anyway) in isolation away from the rest of the population. That is an actual threat to Americans, especially since ICE is now arresting and detaining American citizens based primarily, or possibly only, on their ethnicity.
Stephen was tearing up the charts this week, and over on the funny side he took both of the winning spots — though can’t quite claim full credit for either. The first place comment is the expected response to an invocation of the Flying Spaghetti Monster:
In second place, it’s the appropriate deployment of an evergreen tweet regarding censorship of conservative views:
Conservative: I have been censored for my conservative views
Me: Holy shit! You were censored for wanting lower taxes?
Con: LOL no…no not those views
Con: Haha no not those views either
Me: Which views, exactly?
Con: Oh, you know the ones
(All credit to Twitter user @ndrew_lawrence.)
For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out with an anonymous commenter with a related take:
This business about anti-liberal or anti-conservative bias is all nonsense, and I am tired of hearing it. In fact, the real bias is pro-vegetarian. And I can prove it: the vast majority of people who get banned are meat-eaters.
I don’t understand the appeal of infinite scroll. I’ve tried but I just can’t get to the bottom of it.
I’ll see myself out. That’s all for this week, folks!