June 1, 2016


Online speech backers' newest fear: Trump (NANCY SCOLA, 06/01/16, pOLITICO)

Congressional Republicans and Silicon Valley are racing to pass legislation to combat nuisance lawsuits against online speech -- before a litigious President Donald Trump gets a chance to veto it.

Tech companies and GOP lawmakers have found common cause in trying to make it harder to sue people for what they say online, inspired by cases such as a Virginia carpet cleaner's attempt to punish the writers of negative Yelp reviews. But while the anti-lawsuit crusade meshes with Republicans' traditional dislike of trial lawyers, supporters fear it will collide with Trump's fondness for litigation against his critics -- including his real or threatened suits against a Miss USA contestant, a rapper who used his name in a YouTube video, a journalist who questioned his net worth and former GOP primary rival John Kasich.

So the bill's supporters are pushing to get the legislation passed while Barack Obama is still president.

"Obama will sign this. I don't think Trump will," said Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold, a lead sponsor of the anti-lawsuit bill -- who also happens to support Trump's White House bid. While he praises Trump as a deal-maker who can get things done in Washington, he says the prospect of the billionaire's nomination is "why I'm pushing to get it done" before Congress leaves for its fall recess.

Posted by at June 1, 2016 6:27 PM