U.S. judge: Trump can not block Twitter users

Aaron Brown
May 25, 2018

Blocking users from viewing his Twitter account - a feature offered by the social media platform - is unconstitutional and a violation of the First Amendment, Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald wrote in her ruling.

The Knight Institute and the individual Twitter users claimed in their lawsuit that by blocking users for their views, Mr Trump was shutting them out of discussion in a public forum, violating the First Amendment.

Wednesday's ruling could complicate that debate, said Feldman, potentially giving people such as Yiannopolous grounds to sue Twitter and demand that they be permitted back on Twitter to view Trump's account and to participate in the public forum surrounding it.

"We respectfully disagree with the court's decision and are considering our next steps", Kerri Kupec, Justice Department spokesperson said.

"The position the Trump administration is taking is that the president is entitled to block people, and that the court lacks the ability to order him to do otherwise", Mr. Jaffer said.

In a March hearing, Judge Buchwald had suggested that Mr. Trump has the right to ignore whomever he pleases on Twitter, and that the "Mute" feature is a constitutional option for doing so.

The case was brought forward by seven Twitter users who have been blocked on Twitter by the U.S. President.

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In the past week, he has repeatedly claimed in multiple tweets that the Justice Department put a "spy" inside his presidential campaign to frame him for "crimes he didn't commit" amid mounting questions over his campaign's possible collusion with Russian Federation. 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".

The First Amendment was filed against Trump by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Colombia University, along with a handful of other Twitter users.

"The more important social media becomes to the public discourse, the more important it becomes to defend First Amendment rights on social media", DeCell said. At the time, a Justice Department attorney agreed that muting would enable Trump to avoid a tweet he doesn't want to read.

Media and entertainment lawyer Alan Neigher said he had "no doubt, whatsover" that the ruling would be upheld on appeal because Trump's use of Twitter to make policy announcements "made it a public forum, and those who agree with him get access".

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders and former White House communications director Hope Hicks, both of whom were named in the suit, were dismissed as defendants.

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

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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