07.27.10

Comment Of Senator Leahy On Final Passage Of The SPEECH Act

The House of Representatives Tuesday approved bipartisan legislation authored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to protect American authors, journalists and publishers from foreign libel lawsuits that undermine the First Amendment.  The Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage (SPEECH) Act will now be sent to the President to be signed into law.  The bill, H.R. 2765, was originally introduced in the House by Congressman Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.).  During the Senate Judiciary Committee’s consideration of the bill, the bipartisan SPEECH Act was adopted as a substitute amendment to H.R. 2765.  The Senate passed the bill on July 19, paving the way for final passage by the House of Representatives. 

“I am pleased that the SPEECH Act will now be sent to the President to be signed into law.  This legislation is the product of hard work and extensive negotiations on both sides of the aisle.  The freedoms of speech and the press are cornerstones of our democracy.  They enable vigorous debate, and an exchange of ideas that shapes our political process.  Reporters, authors and publishers are among the primary sources of these ideas, and their ability to disseminate them through their writings is critical to our democracy.  The SPEECH Act is a significant step forward in protecting the First Amendment rights of all Americans, and I applaud its passage.”

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