August 24, 2019

For someone who prides himself on being a Second Amendment absolutist, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) is more than a little squishy on the First Amendment.

Nunes took great umbrage to some parody Twitter accounts which mocked him under the names of "Devin Nunes' Mom" and "Devin Nunes' Cow" as well as conservative commentator Liz Mair, who would tweet about Nunes running out of town halls and avoiding constituents. Rather than develop the tougher skin that other public officials develop while respecting the very American value of free speech, Nunes decided to sue these anonymous accounts (and Mair) and Twitter itself. Because he can't admit that he has even thinner skin than his buddy Trump, Nunes laughably claimed that this lawsuit is also part of his plan to prove that Twitter is censoring conservatives, through a non-existent process that conservatives call "shadow-banning". The fact that Mair is a longtime conservative advisor to several Republican campaigns over the years makes her inclusion in this suit odd, but petty grievances are what they are.

Fresno Bee:

Nunes also wants information on groups that disparage him on social media. His attorney Steven Biss, argued that Twitter is responsible for posts from Mair and the anonymous accounts. Biss compared Twitter to a person negligently giving Mair and the parody accounts a gun.

“What if you set a fire on your property and I told you it was choking my baby?” Biss asked Judge Marshall, as another metaphor, which prompted some stifled chuckles from cow supporters in the courtroom. “You should have to put it out.”

Jesus, with all the actual shootings happening out there and abuse of actual babies on the border that Nunes does absolutely nothing about in his privileged position in Congress, using these metaphors for a few insulting tweets is beyond disgusting.

Neither Nunes nor Mair appeared in person in the Henrico, Virginia, court for the beginning of the trial, which began with a motion to dismiss by Twitter, because literally no one involved in the suit is based in Virginia. Nunes is a California representative, Mair lives in Connecticut, the parody account holders are still anonymous, and Twitter is California-based. California, however, has a fairly developed set of anti-SLAPP laws that would likely have had this case dismissed immediately and Nunes would be held responsible for all expenses for the defendants.

Judge John Marshall did not issue a ruling immediately, but is expected to within the next 7 to 10 days.

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