Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Judge Rules President Can't Block Critics On Twitter

Judge rules Trump can't block people from Twitter account Duke Med alumnus wins lawsuit against Trump for blocking him on Twitter
Glenn Montgomery | 25 May, 2018, 23:17

It took more than 280 characters, but a federal judge in Manhattan ruled Wednesday that President Trump and his aides can not block critics from seeing his Twitter account simply because they had posted caustic replies to his tweets in the past. The judge found that blocking people from a designated "public forum" violates the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Considering Trump's position as a public official, a federal judge on Thursday ruled that he can not legally block his followers on Twitter based on their political views. She disagreed with the government's assertion that the blocked Twitter users' right to free speech does not apply in this case because Trump was acting as a private individual through his @realDonaldTrump account. She said she assumed Trump or his social media director Dan Scavino, who also was a defendant in the case, would unblock the users in light of her decision.

In July 2017, Trump was sued by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University in NY, along with seven individual Twitter users. Likewise, consider a related issue under another First Amendment provision, the Establishment Clause-even Supreme Court justices who believe that the government may not endorse religion think that it's fine for government officials to express religious views in their speeches.

"The president's practice of blocking critics on Twitter is pernicious and unconstitutional, and we hope this ruling will bring it to an end", said Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, which brought the lawsuit.

At the time, former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer noted in June 2017 that Trump's tweets are official statements and the White House often sends out official statements everytime the President tweets. The decision says that "no government official - including the President - is above the law, and all government officials are presumed to follow the law as has been declared". "First new Coal Mine of Trump Era Opens in Pennsylvania".

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News. Trump has more than 50 million followers on his Twitter page.

"I think this decision is correct", Giampietro said.

In an amicus brief filed on behalf of the plaintiffs, the Electronic Frontier Foundation argued governmental use of social media platforms to communicate to and with the public, and allow the public to communicate with each other, is now the rule of democratic engagement, not the exception.

Twitter has always been dogged by questions about how far its users' right to speech may extend.

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