Coral Ridge Ministries, the huge influential church in northeast Fort Lauderdale, has lost its attempt to overturn the decades-old libel standards.
The U. S. Supreme Court refused Monday to consider the church’s appeal of their case suing the Southern Poverty Law Center for placing the church on its list of hate groups for opposing LGBT rights.
Coral Ridge Ministries argued that they were not a hate group and sued for libel.
But using a Civil Rights-era standard of NY Times vs. Sullivan, lower courts said the church was a public figure. And under Sullivan, the church would have to prove the SPLC knew the designation was false and had “actual malice” against Coral Ridge.
Justice Clarence Thomas dissented saying it was time to reconsider the “actual malice” standard as applied to public figures. He said The New York Times and others hide behind the standard, which has “no relation to the text, history, or structure of the Constitution.”
The order is here