11 January 2018

Wannabe Dictator or Idiot?

Once again, Donald Trump complained yesterday about libel and slander laws and vowed that the White House will "take a strong look at our country's libel laws" with an eye for making them easier for people like him to sue journalists who publish things he does not like (details here).

Now some people are outraged because they fear Trump will try to muzzle the press, silence critics, and shred the First Amendment like some kind of dictator.

Simply put, he can't do that, no matter how hard he tries. The First Amendment will stop him. The Supreme Court will stop him.

In 1964, this issue was decided by the Supreme Court in New York Times v. Sullivan (details here), a landmark case that decided the standard for what is and isn't libel and slander of a public figure like Trump. He has utterly no power to change that standard (details here).

So what I find troubling isn't the fact that Trump sounds like he wants to be a dictator, what I find disturbing is how fundamentally ignorant he is about this issue.

Not only is he ignorant of the Sullivan standard, he's ignorant of the fact that there is no federal libel and slander law. That is strictly the purview of the states.

Doesn't anyone advise him of this stuff before he shoves his foot in his mouth on this issue over and over and over again?

If Trump was a potato farmer from Idaho, then one could understand how his knowledge of libel and slander law was limited. But he is not -- he is a highly litigious individual who has sued people thousands of times and sometimes for libel or slander and has been sued himself.

The great irony of this whole issue is how the notoriously thin-skinned Trump freaks out whenever anyone says something about him he doesn't like, yet he has trashed other people relentlessly like no other public figure in modern history.

The constitutional issues aside, if libel and slander laws were made stronger, the gutter-mouthed Trump himself could end up the most-sued person of all time.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous03:57

    Simplemente es un farsante.Amigo venezolano,Cucuta


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