Judge reverses ruling, allows Covington Catholic student to sue Washington Post

A pro-life, Trump-supporting student from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky named Nick Sandmann was horribly smeared by the liberal media and left-wing activists following a confrontation with a Native American activist in front of the Lincoln Memorial during the annual March for Life in Washington in January.

In response to the terrible defamation of his character by the media, Sandmann filed a lawsuit against The Washington Post, a suit that was dismissed in July by a federal judge in Kentucky. But now, Breitbart reports that ruling has been reversed; the lawsuit against the left-leaning newspaper will be allowed to proceed.

The backstory

In the aftermath of the March for Life event, as Sandmann and his classmates were waiting for their bus, they were harassed by a radical fringe group and then provocatively approached by a separate group of Native American activists, one of whom — Nathan Phillips — beat a drum directly in Sandmann’s face as the boy stood silently with a smile on his face.

The liberal media, unfortunately, keyed in on only a brief snippet of the encounter — Sandmann and Phillips face-to-face — and immediately and overtly portrayed Sandmann as being the sole aggressor who had harassed Phillips. Reports from days later, which included more complete videos of the incident, indicated that the situation actually went exactly the opposite way.

But while many who’d initially cast blame on Sandmann admitted they’d been wrong, The Washington Post — along with CNN, NBC, and several other pundits and activists — refused to admit any errors or issue retractions or apologies.

The lawsuit

Life Site News reported that U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman had initially dismissed the defamation suit filed against The Washington Post in July on the grounds that the media outlet had never specifically named Sandmann — even as his photo was central in its coverage.

Furthermore, the judge ruled that the outlet’s “rhetorical hyperbole” in describing the event — not to mention the publication of “opinions” that were later proven to be “erroneous” — was constitutionally-protected under the First Amendment.

But on Monday, Judge Bertelsman issued a partial reversal of that ruling and declared the case could proceed to the discovery phase, meaning Sandmann’s attorneys would be permitted to proceed with the suit — a ruling that carried implications for a slew of other lawsuits filed for similar reasons against other media outlets and public figures.

The aftermath

In a statement to Breibart, the president of the Students for Life of America organization, Kristan Hawkins, said: “The mistreatment of students as they attended the March for Life should offend all Americans who believe that each of us is protected when we act on our own consciences.”

She continued: “It’s a good thing when a judge decides to respect students’ rights to be heard and to be seen with respect.”

“As someone who works every day to defend the rights and needs of mothers and their preborn children, I know that the media often ignores and mischaracterizes pro-life Americans,” Hawkins added. “But our system of justice should protect the rights and freedoms of Americans who stand for the weakest among us, those whose life exists in the womb and who don’t have a voice or a vote.”

This is excellent news for Sandmann and his attorneys, not to mention every conservative who has been horribly and unfairly smeared by the terribly biased media. Finally, justice may soon be served.

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