'Hey Donald Trump Please Sue Me'

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

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:

  1. be seen by voters as beneath the official's dignity,
  2. be seen by voters as improper attempts to suppress criticism (even when the official has a good argument that the criticism is false),
  3. amplify the original allegations, because articles about the lawsuit will mention the charges that are being denied,
  4. distract the public from the substantive messages that the official might want to promote,
  5. lead to discovery requests that might uncover potentially politically damaging evidence.

But of course President-elect Trump is not the usual officeholder.