Great news for those anti-Trump weirdos who love to hang out in the president’s Twitter mentions for some reason that I don’t personally understand: A federal district court judge ruled Wednesday that it violates the Constitution when Trump blocks people on Twitter. According to the goddamn Constitution!!!!!
In a 75-page opinion, Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York determined that Trump’s Twitter account is a public forum; blocking anyone from engaging in that public forum due to their political viewpoints is discriminatory and violates their First Amendment rights.
Buchwald suggested that if Trump simply muted the Twitter users he and/or his handlers don’t approve of, that would be just fine. It’s blocking that’s an issue.
From The Hill:
“No First Amendment harm arises when a government’s ‘challenged conduct’ is simply to ignore the [speaker], as the Supreme Court has affirmed ‘that it is free to do,’ ” she wrote. “Stated otherwise, ‘a person’s right to speak is not infringed when government simply ignores that person while listening to others,’ or when the government ‘amplifies’ the voice of one speaker over those of others.”
Buchwald explained that blocking someone on Twitter someone goes further than just muting them.
“Muting preserves the muted account’s ability to reply to a tweet sent by the muting account, blocking precludes the blocked user from ‘seeing or replying to the blocking user’s tweets’ entirely,” she said.
The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University filed the lawsuit on behalf of seven people who were blocked by Trump’s @realDonaldTrump Twitter account after leaving replies that Trump (or the person running the Trump account at a given moment) didn’t like.
Buchwald suggested that it would greatly behoove the Trump administration to make sure that White House Social Media Director Daniel Scavino unblocks all the haters and losers. She wrote: “Because no government official is above the law and because all government officials are presumed to follow the law once the judiciary has said what the law is, we must assume that the President and Scavino will remedy the blocking we have held to be unconstitutional.”
Correction: A previous version of this post stated that the president had to unblock people he previously blocked on Twitter. While the judge said that “we must assume that the President and Scavino will remedy the blocking we have held to be unconstitutional,” it was not formally ordered. Jezebel regrets the error.