Tags: Donald Trump | Immigration | bill de blasio | donald trump | mexicans | contracts | nyc

Dershowitz: De Blasio Can't Punish Trump for Speaking Freely

By    |   Friday, 03 Jul 2015 12:18 PM

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's order to review the city's contracts with Donald Trump over controversial claims he made concerning Mexicans are "not the American way," says Harvard civil liberties law professor Alan Dershowitz.

"De Blasio seems to put himself directly, squarely, in conflict with the First Amendment," Dershowitz told The Daily Caller. "He should have attacked [Trump] on the merits, but to take away his contracts is to misuse the power of government to stifle free speech."

In his presidential campaign announcement, Trump said that Mexican immigrants are "bringing drugs, they're bringing crime" into the country and "they're rapists," though "some, I assume, are good people."

De Blasio on Thursday called Trump's remarks "disgusting and offensive," and said his "hateful language has no place in our city."

But civil liberties advocates are striking back at de Blasio, with Dershowitz saying that his plan to review Trump's contracts is "plainly unconstitutional."

First Amendment rights for government contractors were resolved years ago in a landmark 1996 Supreme Court ruling, which declared, in a 7-2 majority written by then-Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, that tying government contracts to a person's beliefs is illegal.

"The city says, 'we don’t want to renew it because we don’t like your speech.' That would presumptively violate the First Amendment,” UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh said to The Daily Caller. "The statement by the mayor is a real danger to public debate," that could set a precedent for all city contractors.

In the Supreme Court case, the court ruled that a county in Kansas had infringed on a contractor's First Amendment rights by firing him over his public criticism of a county board.

Dershowitz agreed that Trump would have a "fairly open and shut case" if New York City deprives him of contracts.

De Blasio also may have opened himself up to a public relations nightmare by threatening to revoke Trump's contracts, The Daily Caller reports. According to the mayor's procurement policy board rules, a contractor can demand a public hearing to protest the termination of a contract, which would give Trump the opportunity to attack de Blasio in a legal setting.

Trump's concessions in New York City include an ice skating rink, a carousel and a golf course. When Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point Park opened in April in the Bronx, Trump's company got a 20-year concession agreement to operate it.

Volokh said he is not worried about Trump losing much by the mayor's action, as the real estate mogul has an estimated $4.1 billion in net worth, according to Forbes. Instead, he is concerned about smaller contractors.

"If the city gets away with canceling the Trump contract, it sends a message to these kinds of small contractors, saying 'hey, it’s dangerous. It’s dangerous to say things on these topics when you’re contracting with the city of New York,'" he told The Daily Caller.

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's order to review the city's contracts with Donald Trump over controversial claims he made concerning Mexican immigrants are "not the American way," says Harvard civil liberties law professor Alan Dershowitz.
bill de blasio, donald trump, mexicans, contracts, nyc
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2015-18-03
Friday, 03 Jul 2015 12:18 PM
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