At the first hearing on Devin Nunes's lawsuit against Twitter, there were cow ears, cow T-shirts, and over-the-top analogies.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) finally had his day in court. It didn't go very well.
Earlier this year, Nunes sued Twitter for a staggering $250 million, claiming the site broke the law by allowing two parody accounts — @DevinNunesMom and @DevinCow — to say mean things about him on Twitter. He did this even though the accounts are clearly parodies, which are protected by the First Amendment. @DevinNunesMom, for example, tweeted completely absurd things like saying Nunes was busy "cradling the president's balls full time." And since a cow can't tweet, the @DevinCow account is obviously parody as well. Nunes also named Republican strategist Liz Mair in the suit.
When filing the suit, Nunes stated that the tweets were so mean that "no human being should ever have to bear and suffer in their whole life." Perhaps that hyperbole is what led to Nunes's attorney, Steven Biss, being so ridiculous in the case's first hearing on Friday.
First, Biss told the court that giving Mair and the parody accounts Twitter access at all was akin to negligently giving them a gun. This is a particularly odd stance given Nunes's "A" rating from the NRA and his full-throated defense of the right of everyone to carry guns, no matter how much harm they do.
Things got even more over-the-top from there. Next, Biss asked the judge, "What if you set a fire on your property and I told you it was choking my baby? You should have to put it out."
Nunes suffered additional humiliation at the hearing when about 20 supporters of the @DevinCow account showed up wearing cow-themed t-shirts, cow ears, and toting stuffed animals and signs. Additionally, since Nunes brought this laughable lawsuit, the cow-themed account has grown to an astonishing 616,000 followers. Nunes's own Twitter account, in contrast, has only 561,000. It has to be infuriating to be overtaken by a cow.
Twitter has moved to dismiss the lawsuit, which Nunes filed in Virginia rather than California even though all Twitter users, by using the service, agree to pursue lawsuits in California only. The real reason the suit was filed in Virginia is likely that Nunes was trying to avoid his home state's much stricter laws against frivolous lawsuits such as this.
On Friday, the judge said he was not yet ready to rule, so we'll have to wait and see if Nunes will continue to get bested by his fictitious mother and an equally fictitious cow.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.