Thursday, October 13, 2016

Free Speech in a Free Society

A letter to the New York Times from Donald Trump's lawyer demanding that the paper retract a story of Trump's alleged sexual assaults was met with an epic dragging by in-house counsel for the Times.

David McCraw drafted an enviable and flawlessly-executed "see you in court, buddy!" bluff-calling retort, declining to retract the story, and noting that Trump couldn't make out essential elements of a defamation claim because he'd already harmed his own reputation beyond repair.

I don't know much about libel law, but I do practice constitutional law and am also a very outspoken blogger, so I have a keen interest in free speech, particularly in written form.

It's becoming increasingly possible for people with enough money to smother journalism through threats of litigation, and actual litigation. But demand letters like Trump's go even farther, because they're endemic to his insidious campaign of upending constitutional norms.

Never before has a candidate for President of the United States shown such disregard for the actual structure of the republic. He seems to have contempt for the tripartite system of government. He appears to lack a grasp of basic civics. He gives no indication that he respects any part of the constitution he can't spontaneously riff on at a rally.

Unfortunately for Trump and his enablers, there are a lot of people in this country who care about the health of American democracy, including women and minorities. And they will fight--successfully--the erosion of this country's social progress.

Donald Trump and his lawyers might not understand this, but being able to write and speak freely, especially of politicians, is what really makes America great.


1 comment:

  1. I hope all the inflated egos pursue this. We will then see The Orange One go down the Cosby rabbit hole; hopefully forevermore extinguishing this cretins mojo. As with Cosby, I think we will have a cascade of women coming forward enabled by those breaking ground.

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