Sunday, April 01, 2018

Donald Trump, Federal Courts Scholar

by Michael Dorf

Imagine my surprise when I awoke yesterday morning to find that I had been (more or less) name-checked by the leader of the free world. Although the initial tweet (below) did not use my Twitter handle, so many of my own followers alerted me to it that I could not scroll through them all.

Given the spelling, I at first assumed that the president with the very good brain was actually tweeting about law professor Michael Dorff or one of the many other Michaels Dorf/Dorff/Dorph out there. But after a bit of research, it turned out that I was indeed the target of the wrath of the Tweeter in Chief. I was honored.


That's not to say I wasn't also a bit mystified. True, I have opined about the case of Zervos v. Trump, most recently here. But I have chiefly been writing about procedural issues. In what I now realize was a terrible misjudgment, I attempted to clarify by tweeting back to @realDonaldTrump. I wrote: "Thanks for the free publicity, Mr. President, but I really didn't say anything about the substance of the case. I wrote about the applicability of the rule of Clinton v. Jones in state court."

Only twelve minutes later, the following ensued:

I knew that I couldn't fight this master of social media, so I did not reply. I had been wondering how Trump came across my blog post and, even more, why he bothered to respond. I got that the POTUS has an extraordinarily thin skin, but I am hardly the most pointed of his critics and even less so one of his most visible.

And then an anonymous reader alerted me to the fact that I had briefly appeared on FoxNews. Apparently, whoever has been impersonating Alan Dershowitz in the last few years wrote a column in which he argued that the SCOTUS would likely overrule Clinton v. Jones if the Zervos case were to reach the Court. His column disagreed with my blog post on a minor point, but it appeared in a box when neo-Dershowitz was on air. My name thus appeared onscreen as an apparent antagonist of Dershowitz, and thus of Trump, for all of three seconds. Trump's initial tweet asserting that I was "WRONG WRONG WRONG" was posted one minute later.

The upshot of this little brush with fame is that I have new respect for Trump. He may have small hands, but he sure has fast fingers.