Published: Fri, May 25, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

Judge: President Can't Block Critics On Twitter

Judge: President Can't Block Critics On Twitter

U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan stopped short in her written decision of ordering Trump or a subordinate to stop the practice of blocking critics from viewing his Twitter account, saying it was enough to point out that it was unconstitutional.

As such the court was asked to contemplate whether or not a public official could, in step with the primary modification, "block" someone from his Twitter account in response to the dogmas that person has expressed, and whether or not the analysis differs as a result of that public official is that the President of the US. She said she assumed Trump's social media director Dan Scavino would unblock the users in light of her decision.

Read the full opinion here. The decision says that "no government official - including the President - is above the law, and all government officials are presumed to follow the law as has been declared".

Trump has garnered over 52.2 million followers posting about everything from the National Football League to North Korea to his disdain for Robert Mueller probe into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Cohen, who was blocked from Trump's account last June after posting an image of the president with words "Corrupt Incompetent Authoritarian", said he was "delighted" with Wednesday's decision.

The case was brought by The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University on behalf of seven Twitter users who had been blocked by Trump for criticising him or mocking him online.

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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.

"The judge is taking a social media account launched well before Donald Trump was a public official and declaring it to be a public forum".

"The President, like other public officials, routinely engages in conduct that is not state action, whether that might be giving a toast at a wedding or giving a speech at a fundraiser", the Justice Department wrote in a brief, according to The Washington Post.

"As to the muting, I think that is an option", Fallow said at the time. The judge agreed but said that even considering the president's First Amendment rights, preventing users from interacting directly with him on Twitter represented a violation of a "real, albeit narrow, slice of speech". The judge ordered Trump to unblock his account.

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.

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