Supreme Court Turns Away Defamation Case

A mining company’s CEO being described as a “felon” was not slander.

The Supreme Court denied an appeal made by former mining CEO Donald Blankenship to hold media outlets liable for calling him a “felon.”  

The former executive of Massey Energy, a large mining company based in West Virginia, had attempted to run for the Senate against Senator Joe Manchin in 2018. However, Blankenship had been sentenced to one year of prison in 2015 for conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards, prompting news outlets to label him a “felon” during his campaign. Blankenship filed a lawsuit against multiple large news outlets in 2019 for the use of this term, but his cases were consistently defeated in federal courts.

The Supreme Court followed suit, rejecting the appeal due to the legal nature of defamation. The judges agreed that defamation must be made with “actual malice,” that is statements made with the full knowledge that they are both reckless and untrue. Since Blankenship was actually a felon, the statements made by news outlets were not untrue.

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For discernment for the justices Supreme Court as they consider cases for appeal.
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Sources: Reuters, Washington Examiner


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