As The Donald says he’ll change laws he doesn’t like, we wonder which other world leaders have done likewise
The Donald — that’s Donald Trump, US president-in-waiting to you and me — has come up with a novel idea.
The iconic blond person has decided that the United States can do without the First Amendment.
“I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money,” said the mighty Trump.
We’re going to open up those libel laws. So when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected.
As Matthew Ingram points out in this piece, The Donald (so named by his first wife, Ivana Trump) can only mean that he is going to jettison the US constitution’s cherished First Amendment — which protects freedom of expression — for the simple reason that there isn’t an overarching law of libel in the US. Libel is regulated on a state-wide basis.
To stop newspapers writing horrible things, Trump would either have to convince each state to change its laws or pass a new federal law changing the First Amendment.
Both scenarios are surely about as likely as an experienced, internationally-known, skyscraper-owning businessman and putative American president falling for a trick by Gawker and retweeting a quote by an evil fascist dictator.
But seriously. Legal Cheek thinks that even a man of Trump’s standing would struggle to overhaul a principle that is as enshrined in the American psyche as the right to bear arms.
But then again, talking of bearing arms, history has seen which other leaders change laws that they didn’t like?
And while we’re at it, what, precisely, does Trump mean when he suggests The Washington Post is “there for other reasons”?
Like The Donald’s hair, it is a mystery.