Vanderbilt Law Review

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Two recent cases, New York Times Co. v. Sullivan A and Garrison v. Louisiana, have over-turned many aspects of state laws regarding the defamation of public officials. The importance of these two cases is due not only to the problems they have solved, but also to the potential confusion which they have created. The primary purpose of this discussion is to point out the practical effect which the decisions will have on state law, both statutory and decisional. This note is concerned primarily with those aspects of the law of defamation dealing specifically with the conditional or qualified privilege to criticize the official acts and qualifications of public officials and candidates. Several questions in this specific area are left unresolved by Sullivan and Garrison.