A New York federal judge has ruled that President Donald Trump cannot 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.
U.S. district judge Naomi Reice Buchwald ruled on Wednesday that Trump, who has blocked several Twitter users who have been critical of him in the past, is violating the U.S. Constituion.
“This case requires us to consider whether a public official may, consistent with the First Amendment, “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,” Judge Buchwald wrote in her decision. “The answer to both questions is no.”
“We then proceed to the substance of plaintiffs’ First Amendment claims. We hold that portions of the @realDonaldTrump account — the “interactive space” where Twitter users may directly engage with the content of the President’s tweets — are properly analyzed under the “public forum” doctrines set forth by the Supreme Court, 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. In so holding, we reject the defendants’ contentions that the First Amendment does not apply in this case and that the President’s personal First Amendment interests supersede those of plaintiffs.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News.
In July 2017, Trump was sued by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University in New York, along with seven individual Twitter users.
At the time, former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer noted in June 2017 that Trump’s tweets are official statements and the White House often sends out official statements everytime the President tweets.
The federal suit is case number 1:17-cv-05205.
The entire decision can be read here.
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