After a hard-fought battle to ensure the protection of American authors and publishers from extortionate foreign libel judgments, one New York-based scholar and researcher has secured the passage of the first law to achieve unanimous Congressional support this term. Initated and promoted by Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, the Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage Act (SPEECH Act) protects Americans from the enforcement of foreign libel judgments that do not meet American standards of constitutional protection for freedom of speech. Faced with an internationally-publicized suit against her by a notorious libel tourist in 2004, Dr. Ehrenfeld was the first author to stand up against the phenomenon of libel tourism, a practice by which foreign libel plaintiffs sue American authors and publishers abroad solely in the attempt to suppress free speech in the United States. Dr. Ehrenfeld’s initial efforts resulted in the passage of protective legislation in New York and in six other states, and have now reached her ultimate goal of extending those protections nationally.
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