Supreme Court declines to take up Nicholas Sandmann's dismissed lawsuit against multiple media organizations

 March 26, 2024

Nicholas Sandmann, a young pro-life Trump supporter from Kentucky, attempted to sue multiple media outlets for alleged defamation and libel over their gross smears of him personally following a confrontation with a Native American activist during a school trip to Washington D.C. in January 2019.

That lawsuit had been dismissed by a district court and circuit court panel, and now the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to take up Sandmann's petition for his case to be considered, according to the Washington Examiner.

The brief standoff, during which Sandmann silently smiled while activist Nathan Phillips banged a drum in his face, went viral at the time and led to countless reports from multiple media organizations that overtly sided with Phillips' biased accounting of the incident while simultaneously opining negatively on the alleged beliefs, motivations, and politics of the young high school student.

Petition denied

In an X post on Monday morning, Sandmann wrote without further explanation, "The Supreme Court of the United States has denied my petition."

Just a short time earlier that day, the Supreme Court released an Order List that noted, also absent any explanation, the denial of certiorari in the case of SANDMANN, NICHOLAS V. NEW YORK TIMES CO., ET AL.

In addition to The New York Times, Sandmann had sued several media organizations for their allegedly libelous coverage of him, including ABC News, CBS News, Rolling Stone magazine, and Gannett, which owns numerous local media outlets and newspapers across the country.

Split decision against Sandmann in circuit court

The Cincinnati Enquirer, which is owned by Gannett, reported in August 2023 about the dismissal of Sandmann's lawsuit in a 2-1 ruling by a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals panel that upheld a district court's similar dismissal of the suit.

The suit was centered on the media's overtly biased coverage against Sandmann over the January 2019 incident, when he was a 16-year-old student of Kentucky's Covington Catholic High School who was in Washington D.C. with classmates to attend the annual March for Life event.

Sandmann, who was wearing a red MAGA hat in support of then-President Donald Trump when he was confronted by the drum-beating Native American activist Phillips, was gratuitously smeared as a hateful bigot and racist by countless media outlets and pundits, even as he did nothing more than stand silently and smile in response to the provocations from Phillips, who was attending an unrelated Indigenous Peoples March in the nation's capital that same day.

That was the take of the lone dissenting opinion in the panel's ruling by Judge Richard Allen Griffin, who pointed out how the media had completely sided with Phillips and shared his biased account of the incident as though it was established fact while simultaneously, "Their characterization of Nicholas was vicious, widespread, and false."

Griffin's view differed from that of his two colleagues in the panel's majority, who decided that the media's challenged coverage of Sandmann was protected by the First Amendment as they had done nothing more than share Phillips' "objectively unverifiable" accounting of the incident and "opinion" that was "contextual and subjective" to the interpretations of individuals readers and viewers of the viral video clips.

Some media outlets settled with Sandmann after lawsuit was filed

The Enquirer noted that Sandmann had sought a combined total of $1.25 billion in damages from the named media organizations in his suit, including $195 from the outlet's parent company Gannett.

Other media outlets like CNN, The Washington Post, and NBC News were also initially listed as defendants in the lawsuit but were later dropped after each separately entered into settlement agreements with Sandmann for undisclosed terms, including CNN and The Post in 2020 and NBC in 2021.

At the time of the dismissal, Sandmann's attorney had vowed to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, and said in a statement, "We have put a lot of work into this case and will continue to seek justice for Nicholas Sandmann. We plan to pursue every available opportunity to win this case."

Latest News

© 2024 - Patriot News Alerts