Federal judge rules Trump can't legally block Twitter users

Donald Trump uses his Twitter account for policy and diplomatic announcements as well as to lash out at the media and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation

Donald Trump uses his Twitter account for policy and diplomatic announcements as well as to lash out at the media and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation

But a NY judge has ruled that the president's account, and those of other government officials, are public forums and that blocking Twitter users for their views violated their right to free speech under the First Amendment of Constitution.

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

The judge rejected an argument that the president has his own First Amendment right to choose who to interact with because of the fact his Twitter account was used to deliver messages that are "governmental in nature".

In ruling against Trump, the court pointed to past White House assurances that the president's Twitter account is an official political channel.

Serving senators across the major political parties have also been accused of frequently using the block button against critics.

"We're pleased with the court's decision, which reflects a careful application of core First Amendment principles to government censorship on a new communications platform", Jaffer said in a prepared statement.

Even if it's argued that the ruling is narrow and only meant to apply to public figures (maybe even arguing that it applies only to the USA president), that still has implications for Twitter's enforcement policy.

The decision marks a victory for free-speech activists representing seven Twitter users who alleged that their rights had been infringed after they tweeted at Trump critiquing his policies.

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

More news: Tamil Nadu anti-Sterlite protests: Death toll mounts to 10
More news: Kelly Facing Lawsuit For Sexual Assault and STD
More news: Aston Villa reach playoff final with Boro stalemate

After a hearing this year, the judge had suggested that President Trump mute rather than block some of his critics.

A uniquely 21st-century constitutional question received a satisfying answer today from a federal judge: President Trump can not block people on Twitter, as it constitutes a violation of their First Amendment rights.

Twitter users can block people, which prevents them from seeing the user's feed while logged in.

"A declaratory judgment should be sufficient, as no government official - including the president - is above the law, and all government officials are presumed to follow the law", she said. These are both true, Judge Buchwald found, but that doesn't mean blocking is okay.

"It would end up applying to a wide range of government officials throughout the country", he said.

"This is a great precedent we have set for politicians that decide to use social media as a town hall to be held accountable to the rules of the First Amendment", Gu said.

Buchwald ruled that unblocking the plaintiffs would be a "minimal" intrusion on executive prerogative, although she stopped short of ordering it outright.

"The decision may have implications for other government officials' blocking of critics on social media", said Joshua Geltzer, an expert in constitutional law at Georgetown University, "but it doesn't even come close to making all of Twitter a public forum, as the vast majority of the Twittersphere is not being converted into a public forum by government actors".

When Gu was blocked, he said that he didn't feel pride like some Twitter users do when they are blocked.

Recommended News

  • NFL mandates that players on the field stand for national anthem

    NFL mandates that players on the field stand for national anthem

    Several Redskins players took a knee during the national anthem before a game against the Oakland Raiders in September. Players who choose not to stand may now remain in the locker room until after the anthem is finished.
    China says it hopes US-North Korea summit can proceed smoothly

    China says it hopes US-North Korea summit can proceed smoothly

    In his meetings Tuesday with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Trump hoped to gain clarity on North Korea's nuclear intentions. Observers will be watching the nuclear test site destruction ceremony closely for any clues to the North's mood.
    M&S to Close More Than 100 Stores Amid Online Push

    M&S to Close More Than 100 Stores Amid Online Push

    The company is seeking to reduce costs by at least £350 million, although its dividend will be maintained at its current level. M&S chief executive Steve Rowe said there was need for "accelerated change" at the retailer.
  • The cracks in Warriors' armor that could end their Finals reign

    The cracks in Warriors' armor that could end their Finals reign

    Then, the Warriors tried to bury Houston in the third quarter, as they do to most teams. "We just kept playing", Paul said. Both teams made big runs in the first half, with the Rockets' lasting longer and producing a 53-46 half time lead.
    Here's why 'American Idol' really did have the happiest ending

    Here's why 'American Idol' really did have the happiest ending

    Then they went on to devastate everyone with a lovely , touching duet of an "Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" medley. Maddie debuted the track with a live performance on the finale and has several appearances scheduled in the coming days.
    The Bonfire of the Vanities author Tom Wolfe dies aged 87

    The Bonfire of the Vanities author Tom Wolfe dies aged 87

    The resulting bestseller, The Bonfire Of The Vanities , defined the late-1980s era of Wall Street ambition, power and money. Wolfe worked as a reporter at the Springfield Union in MA and as the Latin American correspondent for the Washington Post .
  • United States  employee suffers brain injury in China after 'abnormal sounds'

    United States employee suffers brain injury in China after 'abnormal sounds'

    CNN has reached out to China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs but has not yet received a response on this matter. An investigation to establish the cause and impact has been launched by the US State Department.
    Question that is driving the internet insane : Yanny or Laurel?

    Question that is driving the internet insane : Yanny or Laurel?

    If you hadn't been introduced to the possibility of hearing "Yanny" or "Laurel" you may not have heard either of these words. Just three were caught in between - hearing first one, then the other when played again, or a mix of the two sounds.
    Are Analysts Bullish about Interserve plc (LON:IRV) after last week?

    Are Analysts Bullish about Interserve plc (LON:IRV) after last week?

    It operates through Language Services, Language Technologies, and Global Content Technologies divisions. The stock of Indivior PLC (LON:INDV) has "Buy" rating given on Friday, March 23 by Numis Securities.
  • Teen held without bail for Maryland officer's killing

    Teen held without bail for Maryland officer's killing

    He has been charged as an adult with first-degree murder and will have a bail hearing Tuesday afternoon, according to police. Police Chief Terrence Sheridan said at a news conference Tuesday that Officer Amy Caprio was smart, athletic and energetic.
    Sorry MCU, the Fox-Disney Deal Might Be In Trouble

    Sorry MCU, the Fox-Disney Deal Might Be In Trouble

    Securities and Exchange Commission" by Disney and Fox in advance of their upcoming shareholder meetings slated for the summer. Rumours about Comcast's interests in Fox have circulated for weeks, but it is the first time it has confirmed its intentions.
    Trump looks at tariffs on vehicle  imports

    Trump looks at tariffs on vehicle imports

    One of Trump's campaign promises was to secure a new North American Free Trade Agreement that was more favorable to the U.S. Applying the tariffs under Section 232, meanwhile, would require a lengthy investigation and report from the U.S.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.