On Tuesday, a federal judge dismissed Sarah Palin's defamation lawsuit against the New York Times, CNN reports. Palin sued the Times in June, in response to a pointed editorial the newspaper published following the shooting of Representative Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) at a baseball practice that month. "If political journalism is to achieve its constitutionally endorsed role of challenging the powerful," Judge Jed Rakoff wrote in his ruling, "legal redress by a public figure must be limited to those cases where the public figure has a plausible factual basis for complaining that the mistake was made maliciously."
The editorial originally linked the 2011 shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona) to an advertisement created by Palin's political action committee that targeted legislators who voted for the Affordable Care Act, despite a dearth of evidence that the shooter had actually seen the ad. The Times swiftly issued a correction, and the online version of the editorial was amended. Still, two weeks later, Palin filed suit against the paper.
Rakoff wrote that Palin failed to provide evidence that the Times had committed the error "with knowledge it was false or with reckless disregard of its falsity." Rakoff's opinion also provided a hearty endorsement of press freedom: "Nowhere is political journalism so free, so robust, or perhaps so rowdy as in the United States. In the exercise of that freedom, mistakes will be made, some of which will be hurtful to others."