Thursday, April 27, 2017

Trump's Threat to Libel Law: How the President Seeks to Silence Critics

One of Donald Trump's biggest attacks on civil liberties comes from his regular threats to sue reporters for libel if he doesn't like what they write. Trump has repeatedly promised to use his power as president to suppress the freedom of the press, saying, "We're going to open up those libel laws...." On March 30, Trump reiterated his promise in a tweet attacking the "failing" New York Times that ended with, "Change libel laws?" Unfortunately, the mainstream media have tended to dismiss Trump's threats as empty rhetoric. Politico reported the view of an ACLU attorney that "there are virtually no steps within the president's power to 'open up libel laws' as Trump has suggested." But in reality, the president has enormous power to change libel laws by appointing Supreme Court judges who can alter constitutional protections.

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