October 7, 2016—Professor Eugene Volokh was quoted in Variety on whether Donald Trump will follow through on his libel threats against the media. Donald Trump frequently takes swipes at the media — his most recent target is The New York Times after it published pages from his 1995 tax return — but what separates his gripes from those of other presidential contenders is that they often contain the prospect of legal threat.
“Candidates for office do sue — every so often I see a state court case,” notes Professor Volokh. However, he adds, lawsuits at the federal level are unusual. “At the presidential level — no, it is not done,” he says. “Filing a libel lawsuit is a real burden for the plaintiff, even for plaintiffs who are completely in the right.”