First Amendment Is No Joke

Jay Leno was sued earlier this week for a joke he told about Mitt Romney using the holy shrine of the Golden Temple for a vacation home. The head of a Punjabi religious organization claims that Leno’s joke exposed all Sikh people to “hatred, contempt, ridicule and obloquy.” “Obloquy” means “discredit, disgrace, or bad repute.” I had to look that one up. I suspect Leno will prevail on this case. He’d have a whole host of defenses. The fact that the joke was obviously not intended to be taken as a statement of fact and the fact that the law does not recognize “group libel” are two that come immediately to mind. Of course, if Congress ever passes a law criminalizing lame monologues, Leno will be on the most wanted list.