Court Decides Opinion Not Always Protected

1990

In Milkovich v. Lorain Journal Co., the U.S. Supreme Court decides that the First Amendment does not absolutely protect expressions of opinion from being found libelous. The Court makes a distinction between pure opinion and opinion that implies “an assertion of objective fact” that a plaintiff can prove is false. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist writes that “loose, figurative or hyperbolic language” is protected because it would “negate the impression” that the writer is making serious accusations based on fact.