Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Trump's blocking of critics on Twitter violates Constitution - U.S. judge

The account @realDonaldTrump has 52.2 million followers on Twitter The account @realDonaldTrump has 52.2 million followers on Twitter
Lisa Bryan | 25 May, 2018, 23:16

President Donald Trump violates the First Amendment when he blocks critics on Twitter due to their political views, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Giving her ruling in Manhattan, the federal judge said that Trump's Twitter account is a "designated public forum" and that the "viewpoint-based exclusion of the individual plaintiffs from that designated public forum is proscribed by the First Amendment and can not be justified by the President's personal First Amendment interests".

On Wednesday, a judge in NY described the president's Twitter account as a public forum, and said blocking Twitter users for their views violated their right to free speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Considering Trump's position as a public official, a federal judge on Thursday ruled that he can not legally block his followers on Twitter based on their political views.

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

Now a federal judge says Trump has to face the heat, ruling that the president and his staff blocking anyone on Twitter is unconstitutional because the platform amounts to a "public forum".

In July 2017, Trump was sued by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University in NY, along with seven individual Twitter users.

The Justice Department said in an emailed statement that it would fight the ruling.


The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News. She added, "no government official - including the President - is above the law, and all government officials are presumed to follow the law as has been declared".

Back in 2017, Refinery29 reported that Trump blocked the host and model over a series of Trump jabs she made, with the final straw being a tweet that read "Lolllllll no one likes you".

Jameel Jaffer, director of the Knight First Amendment Institute, which the Knight Foundation helped found, tweeted a screen shot of that line from Buchwald's opinion.

The ruling could also impact how public officials use social media platform in general, including Facebook and YouTube.

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

Twitter is much more than a social network for Donald Trump. For Manhattan magistrate account is part of public forum and as such can not escape First Amendment, adopted in 1791 to protect freedom of expression.

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

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