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Senate Enacts Worldwide "Free Speech"

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate has unanimously passed a bill to protect American authors, journalists and publishers from foreign libel judgments that undermine the United States' guarantee of free speech.

The voice vote sent the bill to the House for final action.

U.S. federal courts would be prevented from recognizing or enforcing a foreign judgment for defamation that is inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution.

Defendants in foreign cases could obtain a U.S. court order declaring that a foreign judgment would not be enforceable under American law.

Chief sponsor Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said the bill would prevent U.S. courts from becoming a tool to undermine the Constitution.

Leahy said the bill would protect writers and publishers in countries "with the most chilling and restrictive free speech standards."

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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