By “silencing” his social media critics, Trump is engaging in “viewpoint discrimination,” a federal judge ruled.
A federal court judge ruled Wednesday that President Donald Trump cannot block Twitter followers from his official “@Potus” account, without violating his followers’ First Amendment rights.
Judge Buchwald was nominated by Bill Clinton.
In a sweeping, 75-page opinion, Judge Naomi Buchwald noted that Trump’s blocking habits amount to “viewpoint discrimination” and that, because Twitter is a public forum and Trump’s Twitter account his held by the government, Trump must leave open the ability for his followers to reply, re-Tweet, and mention him.
“No government official — including the President — is above the law,” Buchwald wrote.
President Donald Trump cannot block users on his Twitter feed, a federal judge in New York City ruled Wednesday.
Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald said in her ruling that Trump is violating the U.S. Constitution by preventing certain Americans from viewing his tweets on @realDonaldTrump.
The social media platform, Buchwald said, is a “designated public forum” from which Trump cannot exclude individual plaintiffs.
The judge’s ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed last July by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, as well as seven other plaintiffs who said they had been blocked on Twitter by Trump.
If POTUS can’t block users on Twitter per First Amendment violation, can Twitter not shadowban tweets for political content on same basis? We exposed video of Twitter engineers explaining how they specifically target @realdonaldtrump supporters’ tweets, and classify them as bots. pic.twitter.com/zZfpMak89v
James O’Keefe responded to today’s ruling.
— James O’Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) May 23, 2018
The Daily Wire notes,
The decision is good news for Trump’s Twitter trolls, like author Stephen King, who were part of the federal lawsuit that ultimately produced this decision. They, for now, have the right to angrily re-tweet and mention the president to their hearts’ content (at least until the president’s legal team applies for an injunction pending an appeal).
Democrats shouldn’t start the party just yet, either. The decision applies to government officials across the board, so now serial blockers like Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) will have to release their respective strangleholds.