Trump Wants To Replace FTC Chair Whom He Can't Replace, Because The FTC Is Reluctant To Go After Trump's Social Media Enemies

from the oh-stop-it dept

A few weeks back we wrote about how FTC chair Joe Simons -- while bizarrely complaining about Section 230 blocking his investigations, despite it never actually doing that -- was actually willing to say that Trump's executive order on social media was nonsense (though not in those words). While the FCC caved and moved forward with its nonsense exploration of Section 230, the FTC has done nothing, because there's nothing for it to actually do.

And apparently our narcissist in chief is upset about that. Politico reports that the White House has been interviewing possible replacements for Simons because they want someone who will punish Trump's mythical list of enemies among social media companies (even as those companies have bent over backwards to accommodate his nonsense):

The White House is searching for a replacement for Federal Trade Commission Chair Joe Simons, a Republican who has publicly resisted President Donald Trump’s efforts to crack down on social media companies, four people with knowledge of the discussions said.

Well, see, there's going to be a bit of a problem with "replacing" him like that. Simons' term runs through 2024, and while Trump likes to think he can fire whoever he wants in the federal government, there was a big famous case about that, Humphrey's Executor v. United States in which the Supreme Court said pretty clearly that the President can't fire FTC commissioners. You can read that decision here. I assure you the President has not.

That doesn't mean the administration can't try to put loads of pressure on Simons. It likely will. And while I don't always agree with Simons, I would hope that he would resist the Trump administration trying to interfere in the job of an independent agency like the FTC. The FCC has already shown that its leadership has little backbone on this front, but it would be nice if the FTC actually brushed this nonsense aside like it brushed aside the executive order.

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Filed Under: ftc, independent agency, joe simons, section 230, social media


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2020 @ 7:32am

    Black letter and as-written law. Learn it. Love it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2020 @ 7:40am

    LAW AND ORDER!

    NO NOT THAT LAW!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Fryctis (profile), 2 Sep 2020 @ 7:47am

    Why is so aneffective?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 2 Sep 2020 @ 7:59am

    I'm sure Trump will Tweet out more complaints about Joe Simons not cracking down social media...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2020 @ 8:00am

    independence

    ("to interfere in the job of an independent agency like the FTC.")

    so FTC is "independent" of the only 3 branches of the Federal government formally established by the Constitution ?

    That is legally impossible, but Congress did it anyway.

    Of course, as a de facto matter, FTC operates within the Executive Branch with the President in charge.
    Trump is no more out of line than Congress js regarding the fundamental existence and control of FTC.

    As usual, SCOTUS regards the Constitution as a loose guideline to be interpreted as it pleases on any given day.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2020 @ 8:23am

      Re: independence

      You agree with donald then?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2020 @ 8:43am

      Re: independence

      The executive branch executes the laws as written by congress. Trump doesn't get to disregard them in order to do what he pleases by virtue of being charged with executing them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2020 @ 12:46pm

        Re: Re: independence

        Yes he does. Nobody's stopping him. Nobody will until congress starts to defund Trump.

        Meanwhile, after O'Reilley criticized a Trump decision, he's no longer being re-appointed to the FCC. But he's not being fired.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2020 @ 8:46am

      Re: independence

      As usual, you blindly parrot whatever the Twaddler-in-Chief says.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2020 @ 9:53am

        Re: Re: independence

        Unfortunately, he's not really the first. Andrew Jackson basically ignored a supreme court ruling (that the Cherokee were a sovereign nation) when he deported them from Georgia to "indian territory" - now in Oklahoma.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 2 Sep 2020 @ 8:14am

    It's not like Trump pays much attention to Supreme Court decisions that he doesn't agree with.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2020 @ 8:53am

    what the hell is wrong with this guy? he is behaving more and more like some tinpot dictator rather than the leader of the supposed most free and most brave people on the Planet! anything happening that he doesn't like, kick out the boss and put someone in place who is simply a 'yes man'!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 2 Sep 2020 @ 8:55am

    'I'm the CEO/president, of course they work for me!'

    You know, just in case someone had been hiding under a rock(understandable these days) and hadn't yet figured out that Trump doesn't see the job of president as serving the public but rather the government and public serving him...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2020 @ 9:21am

      Re: 'I'm the CEO/president, of course they work for me!'

      This is also why he fails so hard as a businessman. A CEO is meant to serve the company just like all the other employees (a CEO is still just an employee). Nobody is there to serve the CEO, not even their assistant(s). That Trump doesn't understand this is more evidence of his many failures in business.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 2 Sep 2020 @ 10:59pm

        Re: Re: 'I'm the CEO/president, of course they work for me!'

        But, he did promise to run the government like he did his businesses, and is delivering on that promise... A shame the people who voted for him didn't understand the implied "into the ground".

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 3 Sep 2020 @ 3:30am

          Re: Re: Re: 'I'm the CEO/president, of course they work for me!'

          "... A shame the people who voted for him didn't understand the implied "into the ground"."

          That is, I think, what has me so depressed about this. Trump's career as a businessman is public record. For a great many years he has run nine out of every ten business ventures straight into bankruptcies where he was able to run from the consequences by making sure that he himself was always insolvent or too indebted to pay the bill and ensuring there was at least one fall guy...i mean "fellow investor"...to pay it in his stead.

          So his promise to run the country the way he does his business means he'll be running the country into the ground, scavenge what he can, then run off to let the next guy deal with the collapse. And all his voters need to do in order to realize that is to google his wiki page.

          It follows, then, that enough US citizens to get a president elected are human beings so dumb and gullible they'll blindly follow ANY crook no matter how twisted, as long as he can stand in front of an audience and pour them an incoherent word salad which contains enough trigger words to make them follow like well-trained sheep.

          There's no future for a nation like that.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 3 Sep 2020 @ 4:48am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 'I'm the CEO/president, of course they work for

            "Trump's career as a businessman is public record."

            I think the problem is, they weren't voting for his actual business record. They were voting for the "reality" show version they saw on TV. At least the UK version of The Apprentice had an actual successful entrepreneur hosting it. Word has it, Trump didn't even have the balls to fire people in person on his version of the show.

            "And all his voters need to do in order to realize that is to google his wiki page."

            Why would they do that when Fox is there to tell them what to think without having to move? Therein lies the problem. There's a subset of people who believe in an alternate reality, and they won't do even the most basic thing to understand how they've been lied to.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Dave Cortright (profile), 2 Sep 2020 @ 1:22pm

    My wish: full transparency of Executive branch communications

    If it didn’t violate any classification restrictions—and that’s a big if; IANAL—I would love to see one of these folks just go full transparency on the executive branch and live blog every communique they receive from and send to the Executive branch. Presumably these are public missives if they can be obtained via a FOIA request. The FTC would just be proactively providing it. Let’s see how well it all goes down in real time with full Brandeis sunlight disinfecting along the way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2020 @ 5:18pm

      Re: My wish: full transparency of Executive branch communication

      Well, first we would need a law against arbitrarily overclassifying all the things.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 2 Sep 2020 @ 2:50pm

    Simple solution

    Simons' term runs through 2024, and while Trump likes to think he can fire whoever he wants in the federal government, there was a big famous case about that, Humphrey's Executor v. United States in which the Supreme Court said pretty clearly that the President can't fire FTC commissioners.

    He can use executive privilege to have him assassinated. I mean, his theory that he is above the law is pretty well-tested by now: he is above the law as long as he keeps the cases in court until he dies of natural causes. And that works pretty well.

    But being able to assassinate U.S. citizens without legal proceedings who are suspected of being bad guys is something that already was established under earlier presidents.

    Nixon is turning in his grave because he'd have wanted the kind of executive privilege granted to presidents these days: there'd never had been an impeachment then. Well, ok, he wasn't actually impeached, but there was a plausible threat of that happening when he resigned.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    restless94110 (profile), 3 Sep 2020 @ 2:36pm

    Oh?

    Truly difficult to understand all of the nonsense in this article. Dude, wake up. Big Tech should adhere to the 1st Amendment. What are you? Stupid? Don't give me any nonsense about what you don't or do like. Who cares? Let people speak their speech!

    it's the American thing to do. Can you do it, and just stop with your hysterics?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 3 Sep 2020 @ 11:12pm

      Re: Oh?

      "Truly difficult to understand all of the nonsense in this article."

      Sorry, but the articles here are aimed at people with at least some experience of the adult world. Ask your teacher to translate them into words small enough for whichever grade you're stuck in.

      "Big Tech should adhere to the 1st Amendment"

      Why? Did they get bought out by the government?

      "it's the American thing to do"

      What's more American than letting corporations do their thing and not having the government seize the means of production?

      "Let people speak their speech!"

      You can speak all you want, you just can squat on someone else's property if they don't want you there.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 4 Sep 2020 @ 11:01am

        Re: Re: Oh?

        I swear, it's like the assholes' mantra it gets repeated so often these days... 'Stop applying consequences for our speech, just let us say whatever we want wherever we want and if you don't like it that's on you!'

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 4 Sep 2020 @ 11:44am

      Re: Oh?

      Truly difficult to understand all of the nonsense in this article.

      You might want to brush up your reading comprehension. Everyone else got it. Maybe I'll translate it into Russian to help you next time?

      Big Tech should adhere to the 1st Amendment.

      The 1st Amendment limits what the government can do. So this story IS about adhering to the 1st Amendment, in that the FTC bosses recognizes that he has no authority to regulate American companies.

      Separately, the 1st Amendment includes a right of free association, which gives those companies the right to ban whoever they want. Content moderation literally is the 1st Amendment at work.

      What are you? Stupid?

      Considering that your post is full of blatantly wrong arguments based on misunderstanding stuff that anyone with a basic civics education would understand, this is an ironic question.

      Don't give me any nonsense about what you don't or do like. Who cares?

      No one here or elsewhere was making that argument, so... what?

      Let people speak their speech!

      They remain free to do so. This does not mean that private companies must host that speech, however.

      it's the American thing to do. Can you do it, and just stop with your hysterics?

      Your understanding of the American way is quite confused. If they ever let you out of St. Petersburg, perhaps you could come and visit and learn a thing or two, comrade.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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