Yesterday Alan Dershowitz made a guest appearance at Mike Lindell’s cyber symposium to explain to tens of thousands of people assembled online and in-person how his client is being censored.
Isn’t it ironic, doncha think?
Introducing himself as “a liberal Democrat who cares more about the First Amendment than I do about partisan politics,” the famed Harvard professor launched into a broadside against “censorship,” which is the new “McCarthyism” by the left.
“We can’t have free speech for me but not for thee, and the opinion yesterday, I believe, does considerable damage to freedom of speech,” he said, referring to yesterday’s order by US District Judge Carl John Nichols allowing the defamation suit by Dominion Voting Systems against Lindell, Sidney Powell, and Rudy Giuliani to go forward.
“If you can’t express opinions about a presidential election where tens of millions of people disagree with the outcome — I’m not among those people, but there are many who do — as an advocate of the First Amendment, I strongly support the right to disagree with the government, the right to disagree with politicians,” he said, seemingly oblivious of the fact that Lindell was at that very moment exercising his First Amendment right to disagree with politicians, the government, and even objective reality itself.
“The First Amendment today is in great danger,” Dersh warned, before going on to list a whole bunch of entities which cannot possibly violate the First Amendment because they are not the government.
“It’s in great danger from corporations, from universities. It’s in great danger from the social media, from YouTube and from Facebook and from Twitter, that are censoring certain points of view and not other points of view.”
He failed to mention the gross violations of the First Amendment by Lindell’s own social media site Frank Speech — at least under the Constitution according to Dersh — which bans swearing, pornography, and blasphemy.
Then he accused the government of censoring Lindell by allowing Dominion’s defamation suit to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.
One of the things that the judge said yesterday in the opinion is that the case can go forward against Mike and MyPillow because there were people in congress and the attorney general and others who disagreed with him. And if they disagreed with him, he should know he was wrong and they’re right. That’s not the way the First Amendment operates.
It seems the eminent professor is … confused. Mike Lindell wasn’t sued for expressing an opinion about the outcome of the election — he’s free to scream until he’s hoarse that the whole thing was rigged. He stated as fact that Dominion Voting Systems participated in the “Biggest election fraud in world history!!!! Crime against the world!!!” He said the company’s machines “were built to cheat” and “steal elections” and claimed they used “algorithms” to flip votes from Trump to Biden.
As for the part about government officials disagreeing with him, the issue is whether Lindell was reckless as to the veracity of a fake spreadsheet which pointed to a bunch of fake IP addresses as proof that the election was stolen in the face of massive countervailing evidence, including “(1) public statements by election security specialists, Attorney General Barr, numerous government agencies, and elected officials; (2) independent audits; and (3) paper ballot recounts that disproved those claims.”
“As a preliminary matter, a reasonable juror could conclude that the existence of a vast international conspiracy that is ignored by the government but proven by a spreadsheet on an internet blog is so inherently improbable that only a reckless man would believe it,” Judge Nichols wrote.
Which is not the same as saying that disagreeing with the government is prima facia evidence of actual malice, and, frankly speaking, it strains credulity to suggest that Prof. Dershowitz couldn’t work that one out for himself. Particularly in light of his role as Supreme Court clerk in drafting a concurrence in New York Times v. Sullivan — a role he reminded the crowd of in an effort to burnish his First Amendment bona fides.
In fact, the whole performance had a certain Old Man Yelling at Clouds quality, with Dershowitz hunched painfully close to his computer’s camera railing against the new McCarthyism.
“I grew up during McCarthyism when the First Amendment didn’t protect people who were on the left. I was a student in college, and I saw professors fired and other professors terrified to make statements that disagreed with the politically correct views of the day,” he intoned ominously. “Today McCarthyism has become a tactic of the extreme left, a tactic that’s used to prevent people expressing views different from those expressed by the government.”
Which makes complete sense … if you ignore the fact that Lindell accused Dominion of doing actual crimes, and then got sued by the private company for damaging its reputation.
What does the government “view” on anything have to do with this? Dersh doesn’t say. But he’s very sure that if Dominion is allowed to recover for the lost business resulting from Lindell’s lies, we’ll all end up with duct tape over our faces if we step out of line.
“Do not censor him,” he yelled, wagging his finger inches from the camera. “Because if you censor him, you are weakening the First Amendment and whatever is true of Mike Lindell and MyPillow’s ability to speak is true of your ability to speak. Today it’s the election. Tomorrow it might be health and the vaccines and other controversial issues. It will be China, it will be Iran, it will be future elections. And yesterday was a bad day for the First Amendment.”
Vaccines? DRINK. And after you’ve had a couple, watch this video.
Or skip the video and go right to happy hour. Because that there is some sorry, sorry bullshit.
Elizabeth Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics.