Published on: Thursday, February 9, 2023

A 90-year-old North Carolina law makes it a crime to publish a "derogatory report" about a candidate for office if the speaker knows the report is false or speaks with reckless disregard for its truth or falsity. A campaign threatened with prosecution under the law brings a First Amendment challenge and seeks a preliminary injunction. District court: preliminary injunction denied because plaintiffs have no likelihood of success on the merits. Fourth Circuit: Wait, what? "Not only have plaintiffs shown a likelihood of success, 'it is difficult to imagine them losing.'"

The case isĀ  Grimmett et al. v. Nancy Freeman et al., No. 22-1844 (4th Cir. Feb. 8, 2023).