McDonald v. Smith


McDonald v. Smith
McDonald v. Smith
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Supreme Court of the United States
Argued March 20, 1985
Decided June 19, 1985
Full case name McDonald v. Smith
Prior history Petitioner removed the case to Federal District Court on the basis of diversity of citizenship. District Court rejected absolute immunity. Upheld by on appeal, Fourth Circuit.
Holding
"The Petition Clause does not provide absolute immunity to defendants charged with expressing libelous and damaging falsehoods in petitions to Government officials."
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Burger, joined by Brennan, Marshall, Blackmun, White, O'Conner, Renhquist, Stevens
Concurrence Brennan, joined by Marshall, Blackmun
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. I

McDonald v. Smith, 472 U.S. 479 (1985), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the right to petition does not provide absolute immunity to petitioners; it is subject to the same restrictions as other First Amendment rights.

Contents

Background

In 1981, David Smith brought a libel suit against Robert McDonald claiming that the latter had included knowing and malicious lies about him in a letter to the President concerning Smith's possible appointment as a United States attorney. Smith claimed that these libelous claims damaged both his chances of appointment and his reputation and career. McDonald first had the case removed to federal court on the basis of diversity of citizenship. Then, since the alleged libel was contained in a letter (petition) to the President, he moved for judgment on the pleadings on the grounds that the Petition Clause of the First Amendment protected his right express his views without limitation as long as it was part of a constitutionally protected petition.

Issue

The issue before the court was whether the right to petition the government granted absolute immunity from liability.

Decision

The court decided 8-0 (Justice Powell took no part in the case) that the right to petition was subject to the same legal limitations that the rights to speech and the press are as previously decided in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan. Therefore, claims made in the original letter, or in any similar petition, were and are subject to libel lawsuits to be judged on their merits. Chief Justice Burger delivered the opinion of the court, in which all other members joined. Justice Brennan wrote a concurrence joined by Justices Marshall and Blackmun.

See also

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • McDonald Observatory — showing Mt. Fowlkes (left) and Mt. Locke (right) Dome of the 9.2 m …   Wikipedia

  • McDonald's legal cases — McDonald s Type Public Traded as NYSE: MCD Dow Jones Industria …   Wikipedia

  • McDonald & Co. — McDonald Co. Former type Public NYSE Ticker:MDD Industry Financial Services Fate Sold to UBS AG Founded Cleveland, Ohio, United States 1927 Founder(s) …   Wikipedia

  • McDonald’s — Corporation Rechtsform Corporation[1] ISIN US580 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • McDonald's Israel — (מקדונלד ס ישראל) Alonyal Ltd. (אלוניאל בע מ) Industry fast food restaurant Founded Israel (1993) Headquarters …   Wikipedia

  • McDonald's Canada — (Les Restaurants McDonald du Canada) Industry fast food restaurant Founded Richmond, British Columbia, Canada (1967) Headquarters …   Wikipedia

  • McDonald's Cycle Center — Front of McDonald s Cycle Center …   Wikipedia

  • McDonald's sign (Pine Bluff, Arkansas) — McDonald s Store #433 Sign U.S. National Register of Historic Places …   Wikipedia

  • McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure — Developer(s) Treasure Publisher(s) JP Sega NA Sega EU …   Wikipedia

  • McDonald and Giles — Studio album by McDonald and Giles Released January 3, 1971 …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.