Nunes Can't Sue Twitter Over Cow, Stays All Pissy Anyhow
Devin Nunes suffered a big black eye in his very important defamation lawsuit against Twitter accounts run by an imaginary cow, his own imaginary mom, and a real Republican strategist. Wednesday, Judge John Marshall decided that Nunes can't include Twitter itself in the lawsuit, because federal law still, for the moment, protects social media sites from liability for stuff their users post on them. That doesn't dismiss the idiotic suit altogether, but it removes Twitter as a defendant, and it means Nunes won't be able to force the company to disclose the identity of his cow or his mother. Which if you ask us is the sort of sad filial estrangement the courts shouldn't get involved with anyway.
The key factor in Jackson's decision is that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects Twitter — and the rest of us internet moguls — from lawsuits over content that third parties post to the site. That means Wonkette couldn't be sued if someone in the comments, which we don't allow anyway, called Rep. Nunes (R-Cow) a fatuous publicity-seeking cocksplat who has unnatural urges toward dairy cows. (Now, if Yr Wonkette actually defamed Nunes, we could still be sued, but not over something as silly as an insult, because "public figure.") The Fresno
Cow Bee explains:
Nunes "seeks to have the court treat Twitter as the publisher or speaker of the content provided by others based on its allowing or not allowing certain content to be on its internet platform," Marshall wrote. "The court refuses to do so."
Nunes sued Twitter, the two parody accounts known as Devin Nunes' Cow and Devin Nunes' Mom and strategist Liz Mair in March 2019. He alleged the latter three had defamed him online, ruining his reputation and causing him to win his 2018 election by a narrower margin than normal. He accused Twitter of being negligent for allowing the alleged defamation.
Twitter's attorneys pointed at Section 230, smiled, and said "Duh. Err, Duh, your honor." The only exception to Twitter's immunity would have been if the company had somehow helped the three tweeters compose the allegedly libelous tweets, but even Nunes's attorneys agreed that wasn't the case.
Nunes's lawyer, Steven Biss, offered a seriously bullshit claim that, while it surely sounded good to rightwing doofuses who believe Big Tech is out to get them, didn't impress the judge, arguing
that Twitter's actions in allegedly favoring more liberal content over conservative content and allegedly promoting tweets that made fun of Nunes meant that Section 230 protections should not apply.
Judge Marshall disagreed with Nunes and Biss' arguments, saying previous court cases had already settled that Section 230 applies even if the company does show bias in what content it allows people to post.
Translation: Stop your damn whining, you publicity-seeking cocksplat, internet companies have no obligation to archive your stupid rants.
Nunes's dumb lawsuit against the three tweeters will go forward, presumably until it's tossed because political opinions about public figures are protected speech under the First Amendment, hooray for Liberty.
Still, it truly is an age of wonder and splendor when serious journalists have to compose sentences like the following:
The author behind Devin Nunes' Cow declined to comment. The author behind Devin Nunes' Mom and Nunes' lawyer, Biss, did not return requests for comment.
For her part, Liz Mair, the one actual named human in the lawsuit, pretty much told Nunes to put on his grown-up pants and respect the law, saying that Nunes's dumb lawsuits against her constitute
"an assault on the First Amendment and the core American principle of free speech."
"Rep. Nunes took an oath to support and defend the Constitution — all of it and not just the bits he likes — and I hope he will take the opportunity to reflect on that fact again today and proceed accordingly," she said.
Nunes is also pursuing five other lawsuits against various people and entities he claims have defamed him, and we'd review those if we thought he was worth paying attention to.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.