RONNELL ANDERSEN JONES portrait
  • Lee E. Teitelbaum Professor of Law, College Of Law
  • Affiliated Fellow, Yale Law School Information Society Project
801-587-8756

Research Summary

Professor Andersen Jones researches the intersection between the media and the courts and the role of a free press in a democracy. Her scholarship addresses issues of press access, defamation actions against the media, journalism as a check on government, and emerging areas of social media law. Her scholarship has appeared in numerous books and journals, including Northwestern Law Review, Michigan Law Review, UCLA Law Review, Washington University Law Review, and the Harvard Law Review Forum.

Biography

Professor RonNell Andersen Jones is an Affiliated Fellow at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project and the Lee E. Teitelbaum Endowed Chair and Professor of Law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law.

A former newspaper reporter and editor, Professor Andersen Jones is a First Amendment scholar who teaches, researches and writes on legal issues affecting the press and on the intersection between media and the courts, with a particular emphasis on the United States Supreme Court. Her scholarship addresses issues of press access and transparency, the constitutional protections in defamation actions, and the role of the press as a check on government. She is also a widely cited national expert on reporter’s privilege and newsgathering rights and a regular speaker on emerging areas of social media law. Her scholarly work has appeared in numerous books and journals, including Northwestern Law Review, Michigan Law Review, UCLA Law Review, Minnesota Law Review, and the Harvard Law Review Forum. She is also a regular public commentator on press freedom issues. Her op-eds have been published in several major news outlets, including CNN, The New York Times, and NBC, and her research has been quoted in the Washington Post, the New York Times, Slate, NewsweekThe Guardian, and other national and international publications.

Professor Andersen Jones graduated first in her law school class and clerked for the Honorable William A. Fletcher on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the United States Supreme Court. Prior to entering academia, she was an attorney in the Issues & Appeals section of Jones Day, where her work focused on Supreme Court litigation and included major constitutional cases.

An award-winning teacher, Professor Andersen Jones has been recognized for her classroom innovations and personal mentoring. Before joining the faculty at the University of Utah, she was Professor of Law and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Research at Brigham Young University, where she was twice named Professor of the Year. Before that, she was a Distinguished Faculty Fellow at the University of Arizona, where she team-taught an annual course about the United States Supreme Court with Justice O’Connor.

 

Media Highlights

 

Sean Hannity’s journalistic pedigree tested in Dominion lawsuit against Fox News, Financial Times (Nov. 18, 2022)

“The Dangerous Consequences of Trump’s Doomed Defamation Threats” NBC (Oct. 8, 2022)

“The Truth Was Never the Point: the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial illustrates the dangerous potential of defamation suits” Slate (June 2, 2022)

“Depp trial exposes risks to media in airing #MeToo accusations” The New York Times (June 3, 2022)

“Supreme Court leak exposes gray area of press protections” The New York Times (May 8, 2022)

“Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s Infowars files for bankruptcy”, NBC (April 19, 2022)

“Effort to weaken press protections isn’t likely to end with Palin case” The New York Times (Feb. 17, 2022)

“Judge plans to dismiss Sarah Palin’s lawsuit against the Times”, The New York Times (Feb. 14, 2022)

“Sarah Palin Loses Twice to The New York Times” Bloomberg Radio (Feb. 19, 2022)

“Sarah Palin v. New York Times Spotlights Push to Loosen Libel Law” The New York Times (Jan. 23, 2022)

“Facebook ad ban may squelch medical research recruitment” Politico (Jan. 2, 2022)

“A New Anti-Trump Defamation Suit Shows One Way Forward Against the Big Lie” Slate (Nov. 3, 2021)

“A First Amendment Precedent” The New York Times (Aug. 18, 2021)

“The Case for Rethinking U.S. Libel Law” National Public Radio’s On Point (July 12, 2021)

“Will the Supreme Court reconsider a landmark defamation case?” ABA Journal (July 22, 2021)

“Supreme Court has changed tone on free speech, press protection” Detroit News (May 12, 2021)

“The Supreme Court’s Increasingly Dim View of the News Media” (The New York Times, April 19, 2021)

“Dominion: Will one Canadian company bring down Trump’s empire of disinformation?” The Guardian (April 4, 2021)

“How anti-media rhetoric finds its way into judicial opinions” (CNN, April 25, 2021)

“Fox News sued by Dominion in $1.6 billion defamation case that could set new guardrails for broadcasters” (Washington Post, March 26, 2021)

Relationship to the Truth, (All the Presidents’ Lawyers, KCRW, March 31, 2021)

“Facebook political ad ban blocks vaccine messages” (Politico, Feb. 21, 2021)

“When Your Law School Homework is Stranger Than Fiction” (The New Yorker, Feb. 15, 2021)

“Twitter Trump Ban Unprecedented and Renews Debate” (The World Today, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Jan. 11, 2021)

“Big Tech, Speech, and the President of the United States” (National Public Radio 1A, Jan. 13, 2021)

“Can Twitter Legally Bar Trump? The First Amendment Says Yes” (The New York Times, Jan. 9, 202)

“Time’s Up is Refrain as Supreme Court Chafes at Remote Arguments” (Bloomberg Law, Dec. 15, 2020)

“In the Pandemic, Student Free Speech Rights are More Important than Ever” (Slate, Aug. 7, 2020)

“The Birth of a Militia: How an armed group polices Black Lives Matter protests” (The Guardian, July 27, 2020)

“Pandemic proves Justice Thomas does have something to say” The Hill (May 7, 2020)

"Trump campaign sues Washington Post over opinion columns asserting link to Russian election interference," (Washington Post, March 3, 2020)

"Roberts declares himself First Amendment's most aggressive defender at SCOTUS" National Law Journal (February 2019)

"Trump's attorney suggests he may sue the New York Times. Don't bet on it," Washington Post (Oct. 3, 2018)

"One Thing Donald Trump Would Like is Freedom from the Press," The New York Times (Mar. 15, 2018)

"First Amendment in the Digital Age," National Press Club (April 16, 2018)

"What Motivates Voters More Than Loyalty? Loathing," The New York Times (Mar. 1, 2018)

"Trump Administration threatens freedom of the press in new leaks crackdown," Newsweek (Aug. 5, 2017)

"Don't Expect the First Amendment to Protect the Media," New York Times (Jan. 25, 2017)

"The media's definition of fake news vs. Donald Trump's," Politifact (Oct. 18, 2017)

Cakes, Conscience, and Equality, RadioWest (Dec. 6, 2017)

Value your constitutional rights? Thank a journalist. CNN (November 22, 2017)

"Bellweather cases and the state of SCOTUS," Radiowest (Oct. 1, 2018)

First Monday at the Supreme Court, Radiowest (October 2, 2017)

 

Examining SCOTUS Nominee Neil Gorsuch, Radiowest (February 2, 2017)