This article focuses new attention oi the United States Supreme Court decision in Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., the seminal defamation case in which the Court sets out the current test for determining whether a defamation plaintiff is a public figure. The Courts of Appeals have differed in their formulations of the Gertz test, which in turn has led to inconsistent application of the public figure doctrine. Through an examination of the history of defamation law and an analysis of recent lower court public figure decisions, the author posits that the Gertz test is unlikely to ever be universally applied.
Northern Illinois University Law Review
Walton, Mark D.
"The Public Figure Doctrine: A Reexamination of Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., in Light of Lower Federal Court Public Figure Formulations,"
Northern Illinois University Law Review: Vol. 16:
1, Article 8.
Mark D. Walton, The Public Figure Doctrine: A Reexamination of Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., in Light of Lower Federal Court Public Figure Formulations, 16 N. Ill. U. L. Rev. 141 (1995).