Publication Date



When someone is liable for defamation, a court will
almost always levy monetary penalties against the
defamer. A rarely used penalty for defamation is the
imposition of a permanent injunction on the defaming
party that would prevent them from repeating their
defamatory content. Many courts see permanent
injunctions as an unconstitutional prior restraint on a
person’s right to speak, refusing to allow the
condemnation of a person’s speech before they have
spoken it. However, the common justifications for
denying permanent injunctions are weaker upon
reevaluation, particularly in the Internet age, and some
courts and legal scholars recognize that an injunction
can address the harms of defamatory speech without
violating the U.S. Constitution. This Note lays out the
rationales behind the historic aversion to granting
injunctions in defamation cases and discusses why acts
of defamation today can be more consequential and
harder to contain without properly tailored injunctive
relief, and establishing a set of guidelines that courts can
use to craft a permissible restraint on speech that has
been adjudicated defamatory.