Federal judge rules Trump can’t block people on Twitter because it violates their First Amendment rights

President Donald Trump.

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President Donald Trump.
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Getty Images/Pool

  • A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that President Donald Trump can’t block people on Twitter because it violates their First Amendment rights.
  • The judge says the president’s Twitter account constitutes what the Supreme Court would consider a “public forum.”
  • Trump notably and consistently uses Twitter as a means of attacking his political opponents and the media.

A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that President Donald Trump can’t block people on Twitter because it violates their First Amendment rights.

In her decision, US District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald wrote: “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. The answer to both questions is no.”

The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and seven people who were blocked by Trump had filed the lawsuit last year.

Buchwald said the president’s Twitter account constituted what the Supreme Court would consider a “public forum,” adding: “The blocking of the plaintiffs based on their political speech constitutes viewpoint discrimination that violates the First Amendment.”

In March, Buchwald recommended Trump mute people he disagrees with rather than block them from viewing or reacting to his tweets. She also encouraged the parties involved to reach a settlement, warning that they might not like the outcome should she be forced to issue a ruling.

Trump notably and consistently uses Twitter as a means of attacking his political opponents and the media. The president has over 52 million followers on the platform and seemingly views it as a vital way to communicate with the public.