An injunction against speech harms not just the speakers but also the listeners (in this case the viewers and readers). “[T]he First Amendment goes beyond protection of the press and the self-expression of individuals to prohibit government from limiting the stock of information from which members of the pub-lic may draw.” First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, 435 U.S. 765, 783 (1978); see also Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC, 395 U.S. 367, 390 (1969); Stanley v. Georgia, 394 U.S. 557, 564 (1969) (“the Constitution protects the right to receive information and ideas”). The injunction in this case is so broad and vague that it threatens to silence Fuller and Hartman completely.
The issue of whether an injunction can ever issue to forbid even defamatory speech from being published, even after a court has determined such speech to be defamatory, has never been decided by the Supreme Court. Without deciding this issue, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals discussed it in detail in a recent opinion, McCarthy v Fuller. You can view the opinion here. Continue reading ›