New York Federal Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald’s has ruled that President Trump has breached the First Amendment by blocking several Twitter users.
A lawsuit filed by the Knight First Amendment Institute and backed by various blocked Twitter users highlights the importance of the right to free speech, noting that even POTUS himself isn’t above the Law.
First Amendment to the United States Constitution
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Arguing that Trump should be able to practice his own First Amendment rights by blocking any person he doesn’t wish to interact with, the US Department of Justice’s plea was rejected as Judge Buchwald states:
“This case requires us to consider whether a public official may… ‘block’ a person from his Twitter account in response to the political views that person has expressed, and whether the analysis differs because that public official is the President of the United States. The answer to both questions is no.”
But why are WE still able to block users on Twitter?
Believe it or not, Trump’s Twitter account is not just used for paranoid rants: it is also used to announce his policies, promote his legislative agenda and to engage with foreign political leaders. This means that as a government public forum, it is subject to First Amendment protection.
When a Twitter user blocks another, the blocked user is unable to respond or interact.
Judge Bushwald notes in her 75-page ruling that “such space is a designated public forum, and that the blocking of the plaintiffs based on their political speech constitutes viewpoint discrimination that violates the First Amendment.”
Trump’s blocked users included writer Stephen King, non-profit PAC VoteVets and celebrity Christine Teigan. And I say “included” as Trump has also been ordered to unblock all of his blocked users. His win has been met with excitement by the hundreds who were blocked, with Christine Teigan tweeting:
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) May 23, 2018