Court rules that Donald Trump can not block people on Twitter

25 May, 2018, 23:15 | Author: Bert Pena
  • A federal judge in New York ruled Wednesday that President Trump is in violation of the Constitution when he blocks users on Twitter

No matter how offensive they might be, a federal judge has decided that President Trump can not block critics on Twitter, his favorite means of communication.

US President Donald Trump can not block users on his Twitter feed, a NY federal judge has ruled. "The answer to both questions is no".

Buchwald's ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed against Trump in July by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and several Twitter users.

"We're pleased with the court's decision", said Jameel Jaffer, the Knight Institute's executive director.

She stopped short of directly ordering Mr Trump to unblock users, saying it was not necessary to enter a "legal thicket" involving courts' power over the President. She added, "no government official - including the President - is above the law, and all government officials are presumed to follow the law as has been declared".

Trump has more than 50 million followers.

[3.] Though blocked users remain free to read the President's Tweets, and can even comment on them through various workarounds (such as by creating new accounts), the various workarounds "require [the individual plaintiffs] to take more steps than non-blocked, signed-in users to view the President's tweets", which "delay [s] their ability to respond to @realDonaldTrump tweets".

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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.

On Wednesday, a judge in NY described the president's Twitter account as a public forum, and said blocking Twitter users for their views violated their right to free speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution.

"The President, like other public officials, routinely engages in conduct that is not state action, whether that might be giving a toast at a wedding or giving a speech at a fundraiser", the Justice Department wrote in a brief, according to The Washington Post.

Twitter also has yet to comment on the ruling.

Duke University constitutional law professor Stuart Benjamin said he disagreed with Buchwald's finding that parts of Trump and other officials' Twitter accounts were public forums.

Buchwald said "we must assume" Trump and the White House's social media director, Daniel Scavino, who helps run the account, "will remedy the blocking we have held to be unconstitutional", and suggested the pair mute the president's critics instead. "That is much less restrictive and burdensome on the plaintiffs' speech rights".

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