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Law Professors Support Apprentice Contestant’s Lawsuit against Donald Trump
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Summary: Three law professors said that President Donald Trump is not immune to civil lawsuits because he is president. 

Three law professors have submitted an amicus brief in a defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump. The professors argue that the President is not “above the law,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. 

  
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The professors, Pennsylvania Law School professor Stephen Burbank, Harvard Law School professor Richard Parker, and University of Texas law professor Lucas Powe Jr. submitted the brief on Tuesday in support of Summer Zervos, who is suing Trump.

Zervos was a contestant on NBC’s The Apprentice, and she said that our now-president and the then-TV host tried to force himself on her in a hotel room. Trump publicly called her a liar in response, and she filed a defamation lawsuit because of the remark.

The professors who submitted the amicus brief had also submitted one 20 years ago in a sexual harassment case against former president Bill Clinton. In the Clinton brief, they had argued that a president was not immune to civil suits, and they made the same argument that they made this week.

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“No one in our nation is above the law, not even the President,” the amicus brief stated.

Zervos said that her reputation was smeared because of Trump’s liar remark, and Trump’s attorney said that her lawsuit was “politically motivated.” Trump’s attorney also asserted that the U.S. Constitution protects POTUS from lawsuits that could distract him from doing his job.



“First, and fundamentally, the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution prevents this State Court from hearing this action, whatever its merit or lack thereof, against a sitting President,” Trump’s lawyer Marc Kasowitz had argued this summer.

Trump’s legal team’s argument is based on the Supremacy Clause which says “state governments, including their courts, refrain from interfering in the operations of the federal government.”

The professors on Tuesday said that the Supreme Court has already ruled that being president does not immunize Trump from civil suits that are unrelated to his work in office. They also said that the Supremacy Clause is about federal laws and not federal officials.

The professors who submitted the brief are represented by Ropes & Gray as well as the Protect Democracy Project and Richard Primus.

According to The Hollywood Report, the Zervos case could well be seen by the U.S. Supreme Court in the future.

Zervos is being represented by Gloria Allred, who has fired back at our president after he had submitted a motion to dismiss this summer.

“In his brief, President Trump questions my motives and those of Ms. Zervos,” Allred told Deadline Hollywood. “Our motive is simple. We believe that truth matters…No one enjoys a license to defame based on power, wealth or privilege.”

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Story updated 9/21/17 at 10:45 pm to clarify that Richard Primus is representing the law professors who filed the brief. 

What do you think about the lawsuit filed by Summer Zervos? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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