hutchinson v proxmire
Please check your email and confirm your registration. Schwartz replied that he thought the summary was fair. He rejected Blackstone's statement, 1 W. Blackstone, Commentaries *164, that Parliament's privileges were preserved by keeping them indefinite: "Very different is the case with regard to the legislature of the United States. In order to preserve other values, they wrote the privilege so that it tolerates and protects behavior on the part of Members not tolerated and protected when done by other citizens, but the shield does not extend beyond what is necessary to preserve the integrity of the legislative process. The followup telephone calls and the statements made by Proxmire on television and radio were not protected by the Speech or Debate Clause; they were, however, held by the Court of Appeals to be protected by the First Amendment. Time, Inc. v. Firestone, supra, at 424 U. S. 456. Instead, respondents have argued that the District Court and the Court of Appeals were correct in holding that Hutchinson is a public figure for the limited purpose of comment on his receipt of federal funds for research projects. The "award" went to federal agencies that had sponsored Hutchinson's research. Hutchinson filed a lawsuit against Proxmire in the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin claiming $8 million in damages for defamation, malicious conduct or conduct with grossly negligent disregard for the truth, invasion of rights to privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional anguish. Dr. Hutchinson received his salary as an employee of the State. This Court has never passed on that question, and neither the District Court nor the Court of Appeals seemed to think it was important. See, e.g., Siler v. Louisville & Nashville R. Co., 213 U. S. 175, 213 U. S. 193 (1909). . Hutchinson v. Proxmire, 443 U.S. 111 (1979), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that statements made by a Senator in newsletters and press releases were not protected by the Speech or Debate Clause. Neither of those factors demonstrates. [Footnote 7] 431 F. Supp. The parties agree that Proxmire referred to research like Hutchinson's on at least one television show. I know of no evidence that Dr. Hutchinson ever received extra money for work that duplicated earlier work that had already been funded. While seeking evidence of wasteful governmental spending, Schwartz read copies of reports that Hutchinson had prepared under grants from NASA. ", W. Wilson, Congressional Government 303 (1885). The Court of Appeals did not decide whether that conclusion was correct. It is worth noting that the Rules of the Senate forbid disparagement of other Members on the floor. 220. Since New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U. S. 254 (1964), [Footnote 16] this Court has sought to define the accommodation. The state law issue arose because the District Court concluded that, as a matter of local law, Hutchinson could not recover. We conclude, however, that special considerations in this case mandate that we first resolve the constitutional questions. Cf. Senate Resolution 543, 94th Cong., 2d Sess. [Footnote 15] As a result, transmittal of such information by press releases and newsletters is not protected by the Speech or Debate Clause. The Court has not provided precise boundaries for the category of "public official"; it cannot be thought to include all public employees, however. Moreover, Hutchinson at no time assumed any role of public prominence in the broad question of concern about expenditures. It interpreted Doe v. McMillan, 412 U. S. 306 (1973), as recognizing a limited protection for the "informing function" of Congress, and concluded that distribution of both the press release and the newsletters did not exceed what was required for legislative purposes. Whether the Speech or Debate clause protects statements made by members of Congress, outside of Congress, if the statement is not critical for legislative considerations? His published writings reach a relatively small category of professionals concerned with research in human behavior. Whatever imprecision there may be in the term "legislative activities," it is clear that nothing in history or in the explicit language of the Clause suggests any intention to create an absolute privilege from liability or suit for defamatory statements made outside the Chamber. [Footnote 12] In this respect, Wilson was underscoring the very purpose of our Constitution -- inter alia, to provide written definitions of the powers, privileges, and immunities granted, rather than rely on evolving constitutional concepts identified from diverse sources, as in English law. The Speech or Debate clause does not protect statements made by members of Congress, outside of Congress, if the statement is not critical for legislative considerations. Were we to follow that course here, we would remand to the Court of Appeals to review the state law question which it did not consider. at 1034-1035. Id., ยง 863, at 329. at 1330. at 408 U. S. 625. . ", 408 U.S. at 408 U. S. 517 (emphasis added). Of course, in light of Proxmire's uncertainty, see n 3, supra, there is no assurance that there even was speech on the Senate floor. But see T. Jefferson, A Manual of Parliamentary Practice 15-16 (1854), reprinted in The Complete Jefferson 702 (S. Padover ed.1943) (quoting Blackstone with approval). BURGER, C.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which WHITE, MARSHALL, BLACKMUN, POWELL, REHNQUIST, and STEVENS, JJ., joined, and in all but n. 10 of which STEWART, J., joined. Proxmire detailed the "nonsense" of Hutchinson's research on the floor of the Senate, in conferences with his staff, and in a newsletter sent to over 100,000 of his constituents. E.g. Whether statements made by Proxmire were libelous or defamatory. It seems to me it is outrageous. in the present case, the offence was the publication under his authority and sanction, and at his expense: . In fact, the good doctor has made a fortune from his monkeys, and, in the process, made a monkey out of the American taxpayer. . The "award" went to federal agencies that had sponsored Hutchinson's research. Hutchinson v. Proxmire, 443 U.S. 111 (1979), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that statements made by a Senator in newsletters and press releases were not protected by the Speech or Debate Clause. [Footnote 9], "But even if, for the purpose of this suit, it is found that Dr. Hutchinson is a private person so that First Amendment protections do not extend to [respondents], relevant state law dictates the grant of summary judgment.". Id. The letter did not mention Hutchinson's name, but it did report: "-- The NSF, the Space Agency, and the Office of Naval Research won the 'Golden Fleece' for spending jointly $500,000 to determine why monkeys clench their jaws. Tr. The petitioner in Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., had published books and articles on legal issues; he had been. Because telephone calls to federal agency officials are a routine and essential part of the congressional oversight function, he believes such activity is protected by the Speech or Debate Clause. [3] Though they found that comments made on television and during telephone calls were not protected by that Clause, the Court held that they were still protected by the First Amendment because the petitioner was a "public figure" and had not made a sufficient showing of "actual malice."[1]. In one sense, Congress informs itself collectively by way of hearings of its committees. "[1] Hutchinson sued Proxmire for libel, claiming that Proxmire's statements were defamatory and that he had been damaged by these libelous statements. In that letter, Proxmire summarized his Golden Fleece Awards of 1975. The District Court granted summary judgment for respondents, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. 14,000 + case briefs, hundreds of Law Professor developed 'quick' Black Letter Law. [Footnote 5] Hutchinson, by contrast, contends that these calls were intended to persuade the agencies to terminate his grants and contracts.

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