Entertainment

Judges, Lawyers Honor Smut-Peddler After Historic SCOTUS Case

YouTube screengrab: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_kLoLXrxPw

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent

Members of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gathered to give homage to the legacy of smut-peddler Larry Flynt, whose spicy caricatures of Rev. Jerry Falwell led to a landmark decision at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Judge Alex Kozinski, whose collection of smut is notorious in its own right, organized the latest installment of the Hollywood Circuit’s ongoing film festival, where judges, clerks, and lawyers drink Costco beer and offer plaudits to starlet’s of the Koz’s favorite films. Christopher Buckley of Thank You For Smoking fame, and Gran Torino’s Clint Eastwood have all led post-mortems after screenings in the august chambers of the 9th Circuit. Kozinski himself has adorned the silver screen — his Slavic mug radiated swagger on “The Dating Game,” before he was seduced by that fickle mistress, the law.

The judge showed The People vs. Larry Flynt, a Milos Forman-picture lionizing the porn-maven and Hustler editor who ran cartoons depicting the front man of the Moral Majority as an incestuous drunkard quaffing moonshine between liaisons with his mother. The ensuing litigation (Falwell sued Flynt for intentional infliction of emotional distress) reached the Supreme Court in 1988, where a unanimous bench found for Flynt. Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote that no damages may be recovered in an IIED tort which stem from a caricature or cartoon a reasonable person would not interpret as true.

Flynt arrived late to the event in a gold-plated wheelchair that would make Donald Trump blush. He fondly recalled his inclusion in a monument in Philadelphia honoring those who had defended the Constitution — Flynt became something of a First Amendment cult hero after the court case. He also inveighed against the establishment press, who declined to support him in the litigation despite the obvious First Amendment issues at stake.

“The mainstream media never did give me credit for that case,” he said.

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