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Trump’s Blocked Twitter Users File First Amendment Lawsuit
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Summary: President Donald Trump has been sued again.

Litigation magnet Donald Trump was sued on Tuesday. This time the lawsuit was filed by First Amendment advocates who said that our 45th president should not be allowed to block users on Twitter because he uses the platform like a town hall.

  
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“President Trump’s Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, has become an important source of news and information about the government, and an important public forum for speech by, to, and about the President,” the lawsuit stated. “In an effort to suppress dissent in this forum, Defendants have excluded— ‘blocked’ —Twitter users who have criticized the President or his policies. This practice is unconstitutional, and this suit seeks to end it.”

The lawsuit was brought upon by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, and the plaintiffs filed the federal lawsuit in Manhattan court, according to The Chicago Tribune. Knight cited seven individuals who were blocked by Trump on his personal account @realDonaldTrump after they had criticized him, and those individuals included a professor and a community organizer.

Defendants besides Trump who were named include White House President Sean Spicer, White House Director of Social Media Dan Scavino, and White House aides who assist with Trump’s account.

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Jameel Jaffer, the Knight First Amendment Institute’s director, said that dozens of people had reached out to the group after they were blocked by Trump’s eight-year-old account @realDonaldTrump, which has over 30 million followers.  Jaffer said that Trump has silenced his critics on social media, and other politicians from both sides have done the same thing.

“It’s fair to say that this is a new frontier,” Jaffer said. “The First Amendment principle is well-settled, but the applicability of that principle to this context isn’t an issue that the courts have yet had many occasions to address.”



The Knight Institute argued in its lawsuit that politicians use Twitter to inform their constituents and gain feedback. To block users is to deny citizens their right to participate in the government.

Jaffer said that a Washington, D.C. federal judge ruled that a public official’s Facebook account was a public forum under the Constitution, but the issue has not yet been addressed in higher courts.

Jaffer also said that POTUS can not block people on his private account because he uses it to express his thoughts as president. Trump’s account @realDonaldTrump has millions of more users than the official president account, and Trump often tweets about health care, the war on terror, and other political issues.

“Having opened this forum to all comers, the president can’t exclude people from it merely because he dislikes what they’re saying,” Jaffer said last month.

Earlier in July, Sean Spicer said that Trump’s @realDonaldTrump tweets should be deemed “official statements of the President of the United States.” The Knight Institute said that the National Archives and Records Administration have also said Trump’s tweets must be archived under the Presidential Records Act.

Source: The Chicago Tribune

What do you think of this lawsuit? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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