Famed attorney Alan Dershowitz told Newsmax on Wednesday that former President Donald Trump’s lawsuit against social media companies is “very, very important” and “a complicated case,” during an appearance on “National Report.”
When asked about Trump’s suit against Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, Dershowitz said, “This is a very, very important lawsuit. What's going on with high tech is unacceptable. It's inconsistent with the spirit of free speech that underlies our First Amendment. This is a complicated case because, as the president pointed out, and as Pam Bondi pointed out, the others pointed out, these are not just ordinary private companies - they have special exemption… and therefore they partake of some kind of government action, and the courts will have to parse this issue.”
He added, “What we don't want is the government telling private companies what they can say and what they can do. That would be wrong, but we don't want these crazy, public, enormous, monopolistic companies to be restricting our free speech. The current situation is unacceptable, and this lawsuit, I think, will shake things up considerably, though I can't predict in the end how it will come up.”
Dershowitz later said that “It will be very interesting to see how the courts deal with this, it’s a complicated and difficult case. It's not a simple case. Yes, there is an argument about private companies, and then the argument on the other side is they're not really private, and the courts are going to have to resolve that. There is some precedent on that, there’s a case called Marsh v Alabama, where a company town, a town owned by a company, forbade free speech and the Supreme Court said, ‘no, although it's owned by a company it partakes of the public and therefore the First Amendment applies.”
He went on to say that “Clearly what's happening here is prior restraint. That is, they're telling the former president of the United States, ‘we don't want you on our platforms, no matter what you say, we're going to restrain you.’ So, the issue is not so much prior restraint. I think everybody will acknowledge this is prior restraint. It's whether or not the prior restraint is subject to the First Amendment or [Trump] himself has a First Amendment right. That's what's so complicated about this, that's why I call this the new censorship. The old censorship involved pure government. McCarthyism. Congress. Today we have these companies that are the new censors.”
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