Alan Dershowitz Mocked for Calling Trump Lawsuit 'First Amendment Case' on Hannity

Former Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz has faced mockery on social media following comments he made about a lawsuit announced by former President Donald Trump on Wednesday.

Trump is taking a class-action suit against Facebook, Google, Twitter and their CEOs over accusations of censorship. Dershowitz told Fox News' Sean Hannity on Wednesday that the case was "the most important First Amendment lawsuit in the 21st century."

Twitter users, including some legal experts, criticized Dershowitz for describing the lawsuit as a First Amendment case and questioned how he arrived at that conclusion. Dershowitz's background is as an expert on constitutional and criminal law. He is also Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus at Harvard Law School.

Dershowitz told Fox News that Trump's case is important "because it pits freedom of speech on the one hand against the First Amendment on the other hand."

"That may sound paradoxical but remember it's the high tech giants that are banning freedom of speech. They are censoring but they're claiming the right to do so under the First Amendment," he went on.

"So they're using the First Amendment as a sword against freedom of speech," Dershowitz said.

In a statement to Newsweek on Friday, Dershowitz said: "The Trump lawsuit is important because it pits freedom of speech against the First Amendment. Big tech claims a First Amendment right to censor selectively and to close the marketplace of ideas to certain views.

"At least one justice—perhaps more—think this creates a serious conflict that must be resolved. Which ever way one thinks it should be resolved, the importance of the issue cannot be denied," he said.

Dershowitz also pointed to his op-ed in The Hill newspaper published on Friday, saying it was "an accurate statement of my views—as contrasted with the deliberate mischaracterization of them by partisan hypocrites."

Some on Twitter took a dim view of Dershowitz's framing of the lawsuit. Many shared a video clip of his remarks. Miranda Yaver, a professor at Oberlin College, dismissed his claim that this was a First Amendment case.

"Constitutional law professor here. It's not a First Amendment case. And Dershowitz, delusional though he is, knows this," Yaver said.

Laurence Tribe took a similar view. He is a legal school and a former Carl M. Loeb University Professor at Harvard Law School.

"How low can a former law professor sink?" Tribe asked. "To call a bogus lawsuit based on a fake version of the First Amendment an important case, much less "the most important" of the century? Has he no shame?"

How low can a former law professor sink? To call a bogus lawsuit based on a fake version of the First Amendment an important case, much less “the most important” of the century? Has he no shame? https://t.co/BJlQh3Mnkt

— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) July 8, 2021

Representative Ted Lieu, a Democrat representing California's 33rd congressional district, joked that he would sue media outlets based on Dershowitz' advice.

"Tomorrow I'm suing Fox News for not having me on every day, and the NY Times for not publishing my OpEds, because First Amendment," Lieu tweeted. "Awww, just kidding. Unlike delusional Dershowitz, I read the First Amendment and it does not apply to private sector companies."

Democratic strategist Kaivan Shroff said that Dershowitz brings "disgrace" and called on Harvard to reconsider his professor emeritus status. Shroff said: "[T]he Law School also has a professional and ethical responsibility to its community – past, present, and future – to associate with faculty who are ethical and have a high regard for the law."

Journalist Seth Abramson, who attended Harvard Law School, appeared to draw on his own experiences when commenting on Dershowitz.

"Ah, so *that's* why Harvard had Dershowitz teach us Criminal Law rather than Constitutional Law," Abramson tweeted, sharing the video.

Jan Wolfe, a journalist covering legal affairs for Reuters, asked: "Then why couldn't Trump find any well-known First Amendment lawyers to represent him?"

In announcing the class-action suit on Wednesday, Trump alleged that his bans from social media platforms infringed the First Amendment, saying the case "will be a pivotal battle in the defense of the First Amendment."

Update 7/9/21 11:20 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include a statement from Alan Dershowitz.

Alan Dershowitz Speaks to the Press
Attorney Alan Dershowitz, a member of former President Donald Trump's legal team, speaks to the press in the Senate Reception Room during the Senate impeachment trial at the U.S. Capitol on January 29, 2020 in Washington, DC. Dershowitz has been criticized for describing a new lawsuit form former President Trump as a First Amendment case. Mario Tama/Getty Images