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Federal court tells Trump he can't block Twitter users for being mean to him

Trump lost his appeal to a ruling ordering him to unblock people from his @realDonaldTrump Twitter account.

By Emily Singer - July 09, 2019
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Donald Trump

Special snowflake Trump can no longer block Twitter users who are critical of him, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday.

According to an opinion from the Second Circuit, Trump engaged in “prohibited viewpoint discrimination” and violated the First Amendment when he blocked users who made critical comments from viewing his @realDonaldTrump Twitter account.

That affirms a lower court ruling that already ordered Trump to unblock the Twitter users — a decision Trump had appealed.

“The First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise‐open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees,” the Second Circuit wrote in its ruling.

The lawsuit against Trump was first brought by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, which sued on behalf of seven Twitter users who Trump blocked after they criticized him on the social media platform.

The Second Circuit ruling determined that Trump uses his @realDonaldTrump account for official business, including announcing nominations for key administration roles, as well as other staff changes such as the firing of his former Chief of Staff John Kelly, and that he cannot ban certain individuals who say mean things to him from viewing those public statements.

“Once the President has chosen a platform and opened up its interactive space to millions of users and participants, he may not selectively exclude those whose views he disagrees with,” the three-judge panel from the appeals court wrote.

The ruling went on to criticize Trump for trying to block free speech by blocking Twitter users who disagree with him.

“The irony in all of this is that we write at a time in the history of this nation when the conduct of our government and its officials is subject to wide‐open, robust debate,” the judges wrote in the ruling.

“This debate, as uncomfortable and as unpleasant as it frequently may be, is nonetheless a good thing,” the judges continued. “In resolving this appeal, we remind the litigants and the public that if the First Amendment means anything, it means that the best response to disfavored speech on matters of public concern is more speech, not less.”

Basically, the court just told Trump to man up and listen to criticism, rather than hide from it by blocking people.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation. 


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