The Institute for the Study of the Judiciary, Politics, and the Media (IJPM) is a collaborative effort between Syracuse University's College of Law, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. IJPM is devoted to the interdisciplinary study of issues at the intersection of law, politics, and the media. The institute sponsors lectures, conferences, and symposia designed to foster discussion and debate between legal scholars, sitting judges, and working journalists. The institute provides research grants and seed money for scholars pursuing law-oriented projects that cut across traditional academic boundaries. The institute also oversees a cross-disciplinary graduate certificate program organized around a team-taught course offerings. To learn more about IJPM and its activities, please visit

Sponsored by Institute for the Study of the Judiciary,
Politics, and the Media (IJPM) at Syracuse University

"A Christmas Gift for the Supreme Court: How a 1959 Holiday Party Eclipsed a History of Discrimination" Free Download
Green Bag 2d, Vol. 17, No. 3, pp. 311-354, Spring 2014
George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 14-21

ROSS E. DAVIES, George Mason University School of Law, The Green Bag

On December 28, 1959, the New York Times published a little news item that was, in hindsight, both (1) a public relations triumph for Banning E. “Bert� Whittington, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Press Officer at the time, and (2) a jurisprudential and institutional relief for the Court. COURT DEFIES PRECEDENT: “One of the last institutions holding out against the Christmas Party succumbed last week. The Supreme Court had a pleasant but sober affair arranged by its press officer, Banning E. Whittington. Five of the Justices – Hugo L. Black, Felix Frankfurter, William O. Douglas, William J. Brennan Jr. and Potter Stewart – joined the small staff of employes. There were fruit punch, cookies and carols by a high school group, with some audience singing, too.� The story has a tone that should ring familiar in the ears of modern consumers of Supreme Court news reporting: good-natured indulgence of that somewhat dull, somewhat behind the times, somewhat culturally clueless wallflower among our great institutions of national government. But the background to that story suggests that the Court was not at all clueless in 1959. Indeed, the Court’s handling of that Christmas party, and the Times coverage of it, may have helped the Court occupy the high ground during its continuing campaign in the 1960s against racial discrimination.

"Dealing with the Problem of Unpaid Interns and Nonprofit/Profit-Neutral Newsmagazines: A Legal Argument that Balances the Rights of America's Hardworking Interns with the Needs of America's Hardworking News Gatherers" Free Download
Rutgers Law Record, Vol. 41, 2013-2014

MAURICE PIANKO, Fordham University School of Law

This article addresses a topic that the published literature on the legal problems of unpaid internships has yet to fully deal with. The people of the United States have long relied on nonprofit and profit-neutral newsmagazines for both opinion journalism and traditional journalism. And as the newsmagazine industry continues to face economic challenges due to the effect that the Internet is having on the way Americans consume news products, one can expect newsmagazines that never make a profit to only increase in population. Consequently, the continued vitality of such publications is a matter of public concern. The proliferation of unpaid intern workers, however, is also a matter of grave public concern. Most of the time, unpaid intern workers are operating under agreements to labor that violate both principles of social justice and the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. These interns are being exploited by their employers, who should be paying the interns the minimum wage. And yet, litigation to correct this injustice, and force employers to pay interns the minimum wage, may have an unfortunate side-effect. If nonprofit and profit-neutral newsmagazines had to pay their interns, who are volunteering their services for the good of the ideological and intellectual mission of the newsmagazine, then that cost could bring those newsmagazines just one step closer to going out of business. Fortunately, federal law in this area provides us with a pathway whereby interns who are working at companies that seriously plan to make a profit can be paid the minimum wage, while interns who are volunteering their services to nonprofit and profit-neutral newsmagazines can continue to do so without violating the law. The detailed description of this legal pathway is the main purpose of this article.

"Outspoken: Social Media and the Modern College Athlete" Free Download
12 John Marshall Review of Intellectual Property Law 509 (2013)

MEG MARY MARGARET PENROSE, Texas A&M University (TAMU) - School of Law

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution grants American citizens the right to free speech. However, in the case of college athletes, this right is not without limitation. In exchange for the privilege of participating in college level athletics, college athletes voluntarily agree to terms that restrict their abilities to speak freely, specifically in the context of social media platforms. This article details situations in which college athletes have made offensive statements via social media for which they later needed to delete, explain, and apologize. These examples support the notion that restrictions on college athletes’ speech are not only constitutionally sound, but also necessary in light of the challenges universities and colleges may face if their athletes’ rights to free speech are not restricted.

"Reflections on New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 50 Years Later" Free Download
First Amendment Law Review, Vol. 12, p. 423, 2014

ASHLEY MESSENGER, American University

The Supreme Court's ruling in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan depends crucially on the concept of statements being "true" or "false" and one's knowledge thereof. This principle, however, fails to account for the wide range of statements people make or intentions people have when making a statement. This article explores the concept of journalism; the various theories justifying First Amendment protection; how those theories relate to the Court's decision in Sullivan; the strengths and weakness of various theories and the Sullivan decision in protecting journalism as an activity; and the practical impact that Sullivan has had on the practice of journalism and protection for speech. It concludes that Sullivan certainly had an impact on media organizations, but the legal principles that have flowed from the ruling are not always consistent with the needs or interests of excellent journalism. This paper was part of UNC's First Amendment Law Review's Symposium on the 50th Anniversary of New York Times Co. v. Sullivan.

"Truthiness and the First Amendment" Free Download
University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, Vol. 16, 2014

ILYA SHAPIRO, Cato Institute
TREVOR BURRUS, Cato Institute
GABRIEL LATNER, Cato Institute

Ohio has a law that criminalizes making false statements about a political candidate or a ballot initiative. For dogged supporters of the First Amendment such as the Cato Institute, this law seems like it was ripped from the pages of Orwell’s 1984. What is this Ministry of Truth that sits in judgment over political discourse? Aren’t truthiness, insinuations, and allegations core parts of American public debate? In this article, adapted from an amicus brief filed in the Supreme Court in Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus (2014), the authors exercise their right to satire to show how Ohio’s law chills speech by denying people the right to mock their would-be leaders and to be just as foolish as they wish during election campaigns.

"Media Coverage of Mergers and Acquisitions in China" Free Download

PAUL BOROCHIN, University of Connecticut School of Business
CU WEIHUA, Xiangtan University

We study the effects of competing pressures to report opinion and fact on domestic media coverage of 797 Chinese M&A deals from 2000 to 2012. Using a text categorization analysis of newspaper articles, we find that this media coverage tends to be more favorable when both bidder and target are from the same province or if the target is a foreign firm, suggesting that media opinion is susceptible to political pressure. However, we also find that the interaction of media tone and intensity of coverage can affect the outcome of proposed deals. This effect occurs most strongly after the completion of Chinese marketization reform in 2008, consistent with improved corporate governance through informed financial markets. Negative tone during negotiation coverage predicts long-term performance for the bidder, suggesting that despite political pressure Chinese media has a valuable, if not always heeded, monitoring function in corporate governance.

"Liability for Online Anonymous Speech: Comparative and Economic Analyses" Free Download
Journal of European Tort Law, Vol. 5, 2014

RONEN PERRY, University of Haifa - Faculty of Law
TAL ZARSKY, University of Haifa - Faculty of Law

This is a pre-edited draft of of an article presented in the special session of the Annual Conference on European Tort Law. The article examines various models for handling the problem of online anonymous defamation from comparative and economic perspectives. The comparative analysis reveals four main paradigms. The US model bars content providers’ indirect liability, but facilitates identification of the speaker. The Israeli model recognises content providers’ fault-based liability but does not provide procedural tools for identifying the speaker. The EU framework enables the victim to request identification of the speaker, and at the same time bring an action against the content provider. Although there is variance among Member States, this model seems to comply with the relevant Directives and European court decisions. The recently-adopted English model (‘residual indirect liability’) enables the victim to pursue a claim against the speaker and, if the speaker is unavailable, imposes liability on the content provider.

From an economic perspective, the main problem with exclusively direct liability is the special effort in identifying and pursuing the anonymous speaker. Additional, yet probably less serious, problems are the high likelihood of judgment-proof defendants and high transaction costs which prevent a contractual transfer of the burden to the content provider when it is the cheapest cost avoider. The drawbacks of exclusively indirect liability are the relatively high cost of precautions, the fact that content providers do not capture the full social benefit of their activity, and the asymmetric legal response to errors with respect to ‘defamatoriness.’ Concurrent liability of the speaker and the content provider overcomes the high cost of identifying and pursuing anonymous speakers, and the problem of judgment-proof defendants. It also induces content providers to facilitate identification of anonymous speakers, increasing the likelihood of internalisation by primary wrongdoers. But concurrent liability has potentially conflicting effects on deterrence, and may result in an aggregation of the implementation costs of both direct and indirect liability. The residual indirect liability regime eliminates (or at least reduces significantly) the need for monitoring, and prevents over-deterrence associated with unaccounted benefits and asymmetric response to errors. It also incentivises content providers to reduce the cost of identifying anonymous wrongdoers, and does not raise the characteristic problems of multiple-defendants. This model may raise some difficulties but they seem either insignificant or solvable, making the English model (with some modifications) the most efficient.

"A Bolder Step Towards Privacy Protection in Hong Kong: A Statutory Cause of Action" 
Asian Journal of Comparative Law (Forthcoming)

JOJO MO, City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK)
A. K. C. KOO, University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law

This article analyses the different models developed by courts in major common law jurisdictions to provide for more comprehensive privacy protection and assess the suitability of adopting them in the Hong Kong context. It then scrutinises the Hong Kong Law Reform Commission’s recommendations in its 2004 Report on Civil Liability for Invasion of Privacy and Report on Privacy and Media Intrusion. It argues that a modified version of the Hong Kong Law Reform Commission’s proposals will provide a more refined and suitable approach for Hong Kong tackling privacy protection.


About this eJournal

Sponsored by: Institute for the Study of the Judiciary, Politics, and the Media (IJPM) at Syracuse University.

Legal systems operate in a complex environment of principle, political pressure, and media coverage. The goal of the Law, Politics, and the Media subject eJournal is to distribute abstracts of working papers and articles that promote a more integrated understanding of law, courts, and their environment. To this end, the eJournal seeks scholarship that addresses any combination of legal, political, and media-related themes in the analysis of legal institutions, beliefs, and practices. The eJournal is open to work from the social sciences, the humanities, and the legal academy. Papers and articles that focus on the United States, as well as scholarship that is comparative or international in scope, are welcome.


To submit your research to SSRN, sign in to the SSRN User HeadQuarters, click the My Papers link on left menu and then the Start New Submission button at top of page.

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Northwestern University - School of Law, Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management, European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

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Advisory Board

Law, Politics & the Media eJournal

Reporter, SCOTUSblog

John F. Kimberling Professor of Law, Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington

Supreme Court Correspondent, Legal Times/Incisive Media

Gordon Hirabayashi Professor for Advancement of Citizenship; Director, Comparative Law and Society Studies (CLASS) Center, University of Washington - Department of Political Science

William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence & Political Science, Amherst College