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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Lawyer
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I am wondering how many signatures we would need to pursue a

Customer Question

I am wondering how many signatures we would need to pursue a class action suit against Donald Trump alleging his ruining our good name as Americans.
This is not a joke.
I know I could get millions of signatures in a short space of time, and at the very least we would get a ton of publicity, if not tie his campaign up in knots. Also, it would not be difficult to get the services of major lawyers to work for this project pro bono.
I would appreciate a straight answer. How could millions of Americans not have standing to sue a candidate for President for making a mockery of our democracy?
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 8 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

First, I want you to know, that if you were to circulate such a petition, I'd be one of the first to line up to sign it. So, I am 100% on your side here. However, with that said - this is how our system was set up. Anyone can run for President, as long as they meet the very basic qualifications: at least 35 years old and a natural-born citizen of the United States. There is no question that he meets those qualifications. The problem isn't that the candidate is being allowed to run - it's that the news media is giving him free coverage, 24/7 and has been for over a year. It's the millions of people who, for unfathomable reasons, support him. You can't sue the news outlets because of freedom of the press guaranteed by the First Amendment.

I don't know cause of action you'd be asserting if you wanted to sue Trump. You haven't suffered, at this point, any specific injury. There's no law that protects us from being appalled or horrified at other people's behavior. There's sadly no law that stops people from saying racist and offensive things. If he crosses the line into committing hate crimes, that's for the FBI or state and local police to investigate. He's arguably toeing the line in some of his speeches, but that's a criminal issue. And you can't sue him for defamation, because he's not hurting your reputation as an individual. (Also, I'm sorry to say, the rest of the world doesn't really have as good an opinion of America as we'd like to think. Some of the news reports aired in foreign countries about the U.S. are pretty horrifying.) To bring a lawsuit, you have to be able to state a legal wrong. And in a culture that embraces people making fools of themselves for publicity, I'm afraid I just don't see any particular cause of action that would apply. I wish I did.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
But there are demonstrable damages. England is pursuing a ban of Trump to their country which rises to big threshold of undisireability that affects all of us. His comments about Muslims puts us in danger with friendly muslims. It'S bad enough to be hated by terrorists but to be hated by people who we need to fight terrorists is unconscionable. Yes, we already have a bad reputation in many places but we can demonstrate an increase in a bad reputation. But the bot***** *****ne is two-fold do millions of citizens have standing, which I believe is true, and can demonstrate a collective damage rather than individual damage. Can't the collection be damaged which translates into all of us individualy? And the final point is about the greater statement. Whether we win or lose (I would suggest $10 billion) is not even the larger point but rather the collective statement of a huge chunk of Americans. There is also a political agenda here (duh) besides a legal one. But isn't the law about redtessino greivances? And can't we force a court to render judgement whether a big chunk of the American people are justified in their grievance?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 8 months ago.

England isn't talking about banning ALL Americans. Banning one particular American doesn't affect you or me personally. There are probably many Americans currently banned from England for various reasons (committing crimes, overstaying visas, etc.) and that has zero impact on us.

Federal courts are course of limited jurisdiction. They don't hear all grievances - or even most grievances. I could provide many examples of legitimate grievances that are not actionable. Not liking someone or not agreeing with their politics is one of them. To file in federal court, you need to have a "case or controversy," which takes us back to the standing requirement. The person who brings a case has to have suffered an injury.

Standing isn't based on numbers. Each individual citizen needs to have standing FIRST. And a cause of action. Then, when a number of people (which is not defined in federal law other than "at least two) have similar claims based on similar facts and it would be impracticable for a court to hear all the cases, it's possible to have them certified as a class. Typically, lawyers don't even start looking for members of a class until they have a person in front of them with a cause they can prosecute. That's step 1. Come up with a legal reason to sue, and the class will follow.

The collective statement by millions of Americans that you're looking for will hopefully be made on Nov. 8. There could potentially be more claims against Trump if he's elected. But until then, time may be better spent looking at ways to help the opposition/see that he ISN'T elected, then trying to bring a class action against him simply for running (or for being a terrible person/bad American, etc.)

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