A lawyer for Donald Trump believes the former president has a good chance at clinching legal victory over Big Tech, if and when the battle makes its way to the Supreme Court.
In a recent interview with The Washington Times, attorney John P. Coale gave Trump a “better than 50-50 shot of winning” his legal fight against Twitter and YouTube over the companies’ decisions to ban him from their platforms earlier this year.
“I think we have a good shot,” Coale told the Times. “We’re trying to get the courts, or the law, into the 21st century and social media is the means of communication in the 21st century,” the lawyer added.
According to the Associated Press, Trump had first filed lawsuits against Big Tech companies like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube back in July.
The former president alleged that the platforms violated his First Amendment rights by blocking him from posting following a riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 that Democrats were quick to blame on Trump himself.
“We’re asking the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to order an immediate halt to social media companies’ illegal, shameful censorship of the American people,” Trump said over the summer, according to the AP. “We’re going to hold Big Tech very accountable.”
Notably, the First Amendment doesn’t cover private companies, but according to The Washington Times, Trump’s lawyers argue that “the tech companies took direction from the federal government in making censorship decisions.”
What’s more, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki seemed to admit as much in July when she said the Biden administration would be “flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation” on the coronavirus.
“The night she did that, we opened champagne,” Coale told the Times.
A look ahead
While Coale expressed optimism about the former president’s chances at the Supreme Court level, it’s a different story lower down on the judicial chain. Twitter and YouTube are working feverishly to get the lawsuits thrown out, including by moving them to California, where they ostensibly believe they’ll be more likely to get a favorable ruling.
According to Coale, though, none of this matters: the case is destined for the Supreme Court, he said.
If Trump wants any hope of claiming victory in this case, he’d better hope the lawyer is right.