Trump blocking his critics on Twitter violates First Amendment, judge rules



A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that it is unconstitutional for President Donald Trump to block people from his Twitter account, and ordered him to unblock those he has prevented from seeing his tweets. At that time, Judge Buchwald urged both parties to find a resolution outside of court.

While Jameel Jaffer, executive director of Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, who had filed the lawsuit on behalf of the group said that the President's practice of blocking followers on Twitter is harmful and illegal, and we hope this ruling will bring it to an end.

A Department of Justice spokesperson said the agency respectfully disagrees with the court's decision and is considering its next steps.

She said Trump could "mute" users, meaning he would not see their tweets while they could still respond to his, without violating their free speech rights.

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Under the ruling, Buchwald did not order Trump to unblock his followers, saying that a finding that clarifies the law is sufficient to resolve the dispute.

"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 judge said.

Twitter is much more than a social network for Donald Trump.

On Wednesday the judge agreed with their argument that the social media platform qualifies as a "designated public forum" granted to all USA citizens.

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U.S. District Court Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald cited First Amendment principles in holding that the social media platform offered a forum in which people could not only consume information and opinion from public figures but offer feedback to elected officials - just as they have the right to do in newsprint or in person in public spaces.

In the lawsuit, the seven individual plaintiffs, which included a University of Maryland professor, a Texas police officer and a NY comic, said they were blocked from the @realDonaldTrump account after posting tweets critical of his policies.

Another plaintiff, Rebecca Buckwalter, who is now an editor for the left-leaning website The Daily Kos, was blocked for replying to a June tweet from Mr. Trump that read, "Sorry folks, but if I would have relied on the Fake News of CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, washpost or nytimes, I would have had ZERO chance winning WH".

The Justice Department, which argued Trump had every right to block whomever he wanted from his Twitter feed, declined to say whether it will appeal the ruling. "That is much less restrictive and burdensome on the plaintiffs' speech rights".

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