President Trump blocking critics from engaging with his Twitter feed violates the First Amendment, a NY federal appeals court decided Tuesday.
- Judge Barrington Parker, writing for a unanimous three-judge panel of the Second Circuit, upholding a lower court ruling against President Donald Trump for his efforts to block his critics and detractors from following him on Twitter.
It's one thing for most of us to block Twitter users who annoy us, but it's a violation of those users' First Amendment rights for the president to do so, a federal appeals court confirmed. The appeals court rejected an assertion from Trump's attorneys that his account is private, noting that it is a source of information that is in the public interest and must be kept open to all users.
The debate generates a "level of passion and intensity the likes of which have rarely been seen, " the court's decision read.
The First Amendment is the U.S. Constitution's free speech clause, and has been interpreted as barring governments from excluding critical voices.
Trump has over 60 million followers on Twitter.
The White House appealed the decision, but the courts nonetheless ordered the president to unblock the accounts, which included that of Democrat organizer Holly Figueroa, journalist Rebecca Buckwalter of the ultra-progressive Daily Kos, and dedicated Trump troll Eugene Gu. It had sued on behalf of seven individuals blocked by Trump after criticizing his policies. "Finally, the court held that the blocking of the Individual Plaintiffs violated the Knight Institute's right to read the replies of the Individual Plaintiffs which they can not post because they are blocked".
"In addition to clean air and clean water that means being good stewards of our public lands, prioritizing cleanup of our polluted lands that threaten our most vulnerable citizens and threaten them very dearly, and implementing pro-growth policies to implement innovations and new technologies which improve American life and America's environment", he added.
"This decision will ensure that people aren't excluded from these forums simply because of their viewpoints, and that public officials aren't insulated from their constituents' criticism", Jaffer said. While he also gained an official @POTUS account after he became president, he regularly makes announcements about government business on his longtime personal account.
The National Archives has concluded that the president's Twitter messages are official records that must be preserved under the Presidential Records Act.
Trump has been a social media pioneer among politicians, earning daily headlines from tweets that often start early in the morning.