A federal judge on Wednesday ruled it is unconstitutional for President Donald Trump to block critics on his personal Twitter account, deeming tweets from @realDonaldTrump to be a “public forum” under partial governmental control and therefore people cannot be excluded based on their political beliefs.
“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,” wrote US District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald of the Southern District of New York. “The answer to both questions is no.”
The case against Trump, former communications director Hope Hicks, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and social media director Dan Scavino was brought in July by the Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute as well as by several Twitter users who criticized the president and were subsequently blocked.
Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight Institute, said they were pleased with the decision. “The president’s practice of blocking critics on Twitter is pernicious and unconstitutional, and we hope this ruling will bring it to an end,” Jaffer said.
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