Trump Again Demands Change in Defamation Law

Trump Again Demands Change in Defamation Law January 11, 2018

Once again Donald Trump is threatening the First Amendment by demanding that our defamation laws be weakened to allow him to sue any news outlet that publishes anything that makes him look bad. He says his administration is going to take a “strong look” at changing those laws.

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“We’re going to take a strong look at our country’s libel laws,” the president told reporters during a meeting of his Cabinet at the White House. He went on to call current U.S. libel laws “a sham and a disgrace and do not represent American values or American fairness, so we’re going to take a strong look at that.”

Trump did not elaborate on how he might undertake the effort, but said simply, “We’re going to take a very, very strong look at it.”

As usual, Trump is only putting his own ignorance on display. Hey Donald, I’ve got news for you, and it isn’t fake news: There’s nothing you can do to change the libel or slander laws. The standard that makes it virtually impossible for a public figure to win a defamation suit, which is what you object to so strongly, is based on the First Amendment, not on statutory law. And the Constitution overrides statutory law, so no matter what you think you could get Congress to pass, it would be overturned anyway. But by all means, keep spitting and sputtering with your feigned outrage.

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