In light of the historical change in the law of seditious libel that New York Times v. Sullivan (1964) prompted and the need for further exploration of the human factors behind the case, this article gives attention to William Brennan’s judicial philosophy at work in the case. The article defines judicial philosophy as a system of guiding principles upon which a judge calls in the process of legal decision-making. Specifically, the article explains how, through Times v. Sullivan, Brennan’s instrumentalist judicial philosophy had an important influence on changing the course of legal protection for criticism of the government in the United States. To advance this central point, the article presents a short history of criticism of the government in the United States before Times v. Sullivan, an overview of Brennan and his judicial philosophy, a summary of Times v. Sullivan, and an application of Brennan’s judicial philosophy to the case.
Carlo A. Pedrioli, A Key Influence on the Doctrine of Actual Malice: Justice William Brennan's Judicial Philosophy at Work in Changing the Law of Seditious Libel, 9 COMM. L. & POL'Y 567 (2004)