POLITICS

SCOTUS Weighs in on Trump; Can the President Be Sued for Defamation?


Donald Trump is currently trying to dodge a lawsuit brought forth by a former Apprentice contestant, Summer Zervos, who has accused Trump of sexual misconduct. The allegations are that Donald Trump kissed her on the mouth in New York, and that he kissed and groped her during a business meeting in a California hotel. Zervos maintains that she did not consent to either of the aforementioned.

But that isn’t what the lawsuit is about. Once Summer Zervos came forward, Trump ridiculed and suggested she’d fabricated her entire story. That is when Ms. Zervos  filed a defamation suit against him. Donald Trump’s lawyer, however, has argued in legal filings that the president is immune to lawsuits. But presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway’s husband may well be the reason that argument doesn’t fly.

Twenty years ago, the Supreme Court handed down a 9-0 decision that a sitting president could be sued, by allowing Paula Jones to pursue her sexual harassment lawsuit against President Bill Clinton. Prior to the ruling George T. Conway III, Kellyanne’s husband, drew scrutiny to that case by penning a blistering op-ed for the Los Angeles Times in which the Republican lawyer argued that President Clinton was relying on flimsy legal arguments. “In a case involving his private conduct, a President should be treated like any private citizen,” he wrote. “The rule of law requires no more—and no less.”

Mr. Conway also cited a direct quote used as argument against Richard Nixon during Watergate:

“No man in this country is so high that he is above the law. No officer of the law may set that law at defiance with impunity. All officers of the government, from the highest to the lowest, are creatures of the law and are bound to obey it. . . . Incumbency does not relieve the President of the routine legal obligations that confine all citizens.” 

Expect Trump to be very disappointed about this as he was born thinking himself to have been so high he above the law.


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