Politics - News Analysis

Supreme Court Rejects Smirking MAGA Brat’s Defamation Lawsuit

It’s nice to see that the Supreme Court of the United States is still good for something. This is in connection to a story that happened all the way back in 2019. If you remember, there was a bratty Kentucky high school student, Nicholas Sandmann, who was caught on video in an encounter with Nathan Phillips, a Native American activist. Sandmann, wearing a MAGA hat, confronted Phillips a the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. As noted by USA Today, “A video of Sandmann, then 16 and a student at Covington Catholic in Northern Kentucky, standing nose to nose with Phillips went viral and unleashed a firestorm of internet criticism that the student’s conduct was racially motivated, which Sandmann denied.”

The video rapidly went viral and Sandmann, being the wuss he is, responded by filing defamation lawsuits against numerous media organizations, including Rolling Stone, CBS, ABC, The New York Times, and Gannett. He sought a total of $1.25 billion (how ridiculous) in damages. His lawsuits all claimed that the media’s coverage unfairly portrayed Sandmann as the aggressor (um, because he was) and mischaracterized the incident, notes BoingBoing.

This didn’t fly with a federal judge in Kentucky, who dismissed the lawsuit in 2022. The judge ruled that Phillips’ statement about Sandmann blocking his path was a matter of opinion. Therefore, the judge noted, it was not grounds for a defamation claim. U.S. Senior Judge William Bertelsman wrote in dismissing the complaint, that “The media defendants were covering a matter of great public interest, and they reported Phillips’s first-person view of what he experienced.”

But, as I said, Sandmann is a wuss, so his legal team petitioned the Supreme Court, arguing that the case was an example of “cancel culture” and that the media failed to properly investigate Phillips’ account when reporting on it. Sandmann’s attorney alleged that he was transformed “from a quiet, anonymous teenager into a national social pariah, one whose embarrassed smile in response to Phillips’ aggression became a target for anger and hatred.”

As with all MAGAs, Sandmann tried to cash in on his MAGA fame. Here is a still from a video he made for the Republican National Convention in 2020.

And of course, conservatives were all over this, including then-President Trump, who complained that Sandmann and other students were being “smeared” with false reports by the media. The Supreme Court, for once, got something right (at least considering lately, anyway), declined to hear Sandmann’s appeal, thereby leaving the lower court’s dismissal in place.

I’m going to add that Sandman’s smile in the video doesn’t show embarrassment. It shows arrogance and disrespect. This country’s indigenous peoples have suffered horribly at the hands of white people, except for Trump supporters like Sandmann, who believe the world owes them a living. It’s one thing when a person stupidly lets their white privilege show. That happens daily all over the world, but he did this on purpose.

Sandmann could have chosen the right thing and moved out of the way. But he didn’t. He chose to make a spectacle of this.

So I’m very glad he got owned.

meet the author

Megan has lived in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida and she currently lives in Central America. Living in these places has informed her writing on politics, science, and history. She is currently owned by 15 cats and 3 dogs and regularly owns Trump supporters when she has the opportunity. She can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/GaiaLibra and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/politicalsaurus


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