US judge Trump cannot block Twitter users

A federal district court judge on Wednesday ruled that President TrumpDonald John TrumpComey: Trump's "Spygate" claims are made up Trump taps vocal anti-illegal immigration advocate for State Dept's top refugee job Seattle Seahawks player: Trump is "an idiot" for saying protesting National Football League players "shouldn't be in the country" MORE can't block people from viewing his Twitter feed over their political views.

A NY federal judge has ruled that President Donald Trump can not block Twitter users for their political views after the President was sued in July 2017 by a free-speech group saying the president's actions violated the First Amendment.

The case was brought last July by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and seven individuals blocked by Trump after criticizing the Republican president.

Read the full opinion here.

"I don't know if muting is really the solution, but if all they really care about, which they say, is that he just doesn't want to hear from us, then he would mute, but obviously he wants to suppress our speech", he said.


It is unclear if Trump would unblock those he had blocked and the judge did not explicitly rule on that.

"Because no government official is above the law and because all government officials are presumed to follow the law once the judiciary has said what the law is, we must assume that the President and Scavino will remedy the blocking we have held to be unconstitutional", Buchwald wrote.

The president has more than 52.2 million Twitter followers and has tweeted more than 37,600 times since opening his account in March 2009.

Buchwald agreed with the plaintiffs' contention that the discussions arising from Trump's tweets should be considered a public forum.

"We thought it was a very important precedent to establish that the accounts of public officials on social media do operate as public forums where people's First Amendment rights are protected, which enables them to contribute to the dialogue about policy from the local level up to the national level and prevents public officials, effectively, from creating echo chambers where you block out dissent", Knight Institute staff attorney Carrie DeCell said.


Ms Buchwald rejected an argument made by Justice Department lawyers that Mr Trump's own First Amendment rights allowed him to block people with whom he did not wish to interact.

Noah Feldman, a Harvard law professor, said he thinks the case was wrongly decided and expects it to be reversed.

And though the @RealDonaldTrump account was created long before the election, "the President and [his assistant Daniel] Scavino's present use of the @realDonaldTrump account weighs far more heavily in the analysis than the origin of the account as the creation of private citizen Donald Trump".

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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


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