Falwell is an important decision for free speech in this country. It continues the Court's well-established tradition of providing a high level of protection for those who comment on public affairs, and makes it extremely difficult for politicians and public figures to recover against those who comment on their actions. It also provides protection for the long-established practice of political satire.
I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass.
If you gave Falwell an enema he could be buried in a matchbox.christopher hitchens
Jerry Falwell knows who caused the terrorist attack on America: the ACLU. “The ACLU’s got to take a lot of blame for this,” he declared on the 700 Club, because, he explained, the ACLU, abetted by the federal courts is responsible for “throwing God out of the public square (and) the public schools.”This is a familiar charge and a false one. God is still present in the public schools, where students are free to pray, alone or in groups, so long as their prayers aren’t officially sponsored and don’t infringe on anyone’s freedom not to pray.wendy kaminer
Neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer reaches of American politics and the agents of intolerance, whether they be Louis Farrakhan and Al Sharpton on the left, or Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell on the right.john mccain
While liberals appeared to be safely in power, feminists could perhaps afford the luxury of defining Larry Flynt or Roman Polanski as Enemy Number One. Now that we have to cope with Jerry Falwell and Jesse Helms, a rethinking of priorities seems in order.ellen willis
Here it is clear that respondent Falwell is a "public figure" for purposes of First Amendment law.
It would be misleading to say that Hustler v. Falwell extended the scope of First Amendment speech protections. What the Supreme Court did, essentially, was to preserve the scope that already existed, which they did by rejecting an effort by the Appeals Court to allow a public figure, absent a finding of libel, to recover on a claim of emotional distress.
As the United States Supreme Court declared in the landmark case of Hustler v. Falwell , an advertising parody which portrayed the leader of the MOral Majority as having engaged in a drunken incestuous rendezvous with his other, could not reasonably have been interpreted as stating actual facts about him.
Hustler Magazine v. Falwell is a classic First Amendment case. Its antagonists could have been selected by central casting to embody the fundamental constitutional tension between anarchich self-expression and strict civic virtue.