March 13, 2014 Articles

Fifth Circuit Affirms SPEECH Act

The decision may mark the end of so-called libel tourism

By R. Gregg Mayer

Until 2010, the enforcement of a foreign country’s libel judgment (as with any judgment from a foreign country) was largely governed by state law. Each state was free to adopt its own policy and statutory restrictions in deciding enforcement. This was reversed when the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals became the first appellate court in the country to affirm the use of the federal Securing the Protection of Our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage Act (SPEECH Act), 28 U.S.C. § 4101, et. seq., as a complete defense to the enforcement of a foreign country’s libel judgment in the United States. The decision may mark the end of so-called libel tourism.

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