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Keep the Trial Lawyers Away From the Internet

For some strange reason, some Republicans and conservatives have suddenly fallen in love with trial lawyers – despite that they have always given almost all of their money to Democrats.

A case in point is the bipartisan push to bombard the internet content platforms with lawsuits. Conservatives are upset with the leftward bias of Google and Facebook, but the only result of these lawsuits will be to make trial lawyers rich. The trial bar sees America’s tech giants (owned by tens of millions of American shareholders) as the next tobacco jackpot.

This reverses what we’ve said often was one of the smartest legislative achievements of modern times – the bipartisan decision in the 1990s, backed by then Rep. Chris Cox and other stalwart conservatives to keep the Internet tax-free, regulation-free, and lawsuit-free.

Now many Republicans and conservatives want to repeal Section 230 lawsuit protections. It’s a trap, of course, because it will be conservative “hate speech” that courts find harmful, not liberal propaganda and lies.

Jessica Melugin of the Competitive Enterprise Institute made this point beautifully in a WSJ letter to the editor:

The only remedy Reps. McMorris Rodgers and Pallone Jr. offer for online harms is to turn the plaintiffs’ bar loose on tech companies, a curious solution for Republicans who historically favor tort reform. Eradicating or curtailing Section 230 will ensure that only those companies already big and rich enough to pay legal-defense bills will survive.

The First Amendment already ensures that social-media companies don’t have to carry any content they don’t wish, but Section 230 makes it fiscally safe to carry content they might not otherwise. Changing that should worry those concerned about the removal of online conservative speech, as those sentiments might be the first to go under the justification of increased legal risk.

The trial lawyer sharks are licking their chops.

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