The Guardian Defense Fund, Inc. is an Idaho not for profit corporation that is tax-exempt under § 501(c)(4). The mission of The Guardian Defense Fund is to defend and advocate for free and fair elections, and educating the public on laws and policies affecting censorship in technology platforms.
Since 2021, Guardian Defense Fund has worked on an initial project to overturn the New York Times vs. Sullivan’s requirement that a public figure prove actual malice on the part of a person who defames them in the context of a filing of a false criminal report released to the press when filed. The actual malice standard of New York Times v Sullivan (1964) allows the smearing of those who enter the public arena by the mainstream media as well as political operatives, and often leaves no avenue for a public figure to defend his or her honor. This not only prevents good people from entering politics, it also means that there is no forum in which the actual truth of a matter can be peacefully established, the usual role of the court system. While the actual malice standard may have made some sense in 1964 when it was handed down by the Court, the unforeseen tectonic shift created by the internet and twenty-four-hour cable news programs has so dramatically changed the information landscape that none of the policy considerations undergirding the actual malice standard now exist. The ruling has resulted in massive negative societal consequences, and is ripe for reconsideration by the Supreme Court.
The Fund is also considering supporting public interest litigation challenging Big Tech censorship. For far too long, Big Tech has hidden behind § 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (codified at 47 U.S.C. § 230) to censor speech on the basis of content. Big Tech claims that it can violate the free speech guarantee of the First Amendment because they are private companies. However, a number of legitimate arguments against this position have been developed by the Fund’s legal team which will be tested in Court as soon as practicable.