Piers Morgan tells US lawyer that Harvard Law School is ‘somewhere south of Dumb & Dumber’

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By Katie King on

But gets case law wrong

Outspoken TV presenter and journalist Piers Morgan has got into a squabble about US law with not one but two US lawyers.

The exchange began when Daily Mail editor-at-large Morgan told his six million followers that the US constitution is “absurd.” This, he said, is because it allows Nazism but bans shouting ‘fire!’ in a theatre. His comments are likely in relation to recent events in Charlottesville.

A quick Google search shows the whole shouting ‘fire!’ malarkey is not actually true.

Though the 1919 case of Schenck ruled that free speech laws do not protect dangerous speech (shouting ‘fire’ when there’s no fire being dangerous because it may cause panic), this was overruled in the 1960s. Now, inflammatory speech will be illegal if it: “is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action”. This is a much higher standard than is laid down in Schenck.

Despite this, the fire/theatre myth lives on. In 2012, US journalist and New York Law School grad Trevor Timm went as far as to say it is “perhaps the most well-known — yet misquoted and misused — phrase in Supreme Court history.” One tweeter, who describes himself as a lawyer on his account, was quick to point this out to Morgan:

But Morgan — not known for his compromising nature — hit back with this:

Perhaps in too deep at this point, Morgan then set his sights on Harvard Law School graduate and former Goodwin Proctor lawyer Ben Shapiro, who said:

And here’s US Celebrity Apprentice winner Morgan’s response:

Things took even more of a turn when — fittingly for A-level results day — Morgan and Shapiro began debating the reputation of university law schools. Shapiro began by telling 52-year-old Morgan:

Despite this tweet racking up 22,000 likes and 6,000 retweets, Morgan responded with:

Harvard is the top rated law school in the world and has alumni including Barack and Michelle Obama and various Supreme Court justices, for example Donald Trump’s nominee Neil Gorsuch and the Denning-esque Antonin Scalia. UK figures to have studied law at Harvard include MP for Tottenham David Lammy (the first black Brit to do so).

This is not the first time Morgan has got into a lawyer-related Twitter-off.

Earlier this year, a feud was ignited between the Good Morning Britain co-host and barrister and Labour MP Karl Turner when the latter said Morgan “puts me off my breakfast.” After a few sour-worded exchanges, Morgan accused Turner of “lying” about ITV contacting him to apologise for Morgan’s actions. Ouch.

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