The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
That's the name of a new website that posts some, er, sharp criticisms of the president-elect and appears to invite demand letters. It will be interesting to see whether it gets some.
Of course, I wouldn't advise the site author (whom I don't know personally) to post any false assertions of fact about Donald Trump; if he knows that the assertions are false or are likely false, that might indeed expose him to liability. Usually, presidents and other high-level political officeholders don't sue for libel even when the law allows them to—I suspect that they worry that such lawsuits may, among other things:
- be seen by voters as beneath the official's dignity,
- be seen by voters as improper attempts to suppress criticism (even when the official has a good argument that the criticism is false),
- amplify the original allegations, because articles about the lawsuit will mention the charges that are being denied,
- distract the public from the substantive messages that the official might want to promote,
- lead to discovery requests that might uncover potentially politically damaging evidence.
But of course President-elect Trump is not the usual officeholder.