Pres. Trump sued for blocking some of his critics on Twitter

Suit claims Trump violated First Amendment by blocking critics from his Twitter account

Bloomberg reported that the plaintiffs believe that by blocking their Twitter accounts, Trump is imposing "an unconstitutional restriction on their right to access statements that defendants are otherwise making available to the public at large". Among the group filing suit are several Twitter users from across the country who have been blocked by Trump, Spicer, or Scavino.

The New York Times read the plaintiff's statement, "The @realDonaldTrump account is a kind of digital town hall in which the President and his aides use the tweet function to communicate news and information to the public".

Most notably, the complaint quotes the recent Packingham v. A bot has even been created to put Trump's tweets on official White House letterheads.

"Everyone being able to see the president's tweets feels vital to democracy", said Joseph Papp, one Twitter users involved in the suit.

"My use of social media is not Presidential - it's MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL", Trump said on Twitter in early July, for example.

The institute filed suit today on behalf of seven Twitter users who were blocked by the president, which prevents them from seeing or replying to his tweets. In one example, a user was blocked after claiming Russian Federation helped the Trump campaign win the 2016 presidential election. Attorneys at the Knight Institute argue that Trump's blocking of users who have criticized him amounts to viewpoint-based exclusion, which is not allowed under the First Amendment.

Another plaintiff was identified as Brandon Neely, a Houston police officer.

What exactly were the offending tweets that led the president to block the Twitter users from viewing his account?

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., recently ruled that a local official's Facebook account was a public forum under the First Amendment, but higher courts have not yet addressed the issue, Jaffer said. "Having opened this forum to all comers, the President can't exclude people from it merely because he dislikes what they're saying".

As WCBS 880's Alex Silverman reported, the plaintiffs argue that Trump chose to make Twitter a public forum, nearly like a town hall meeting where anybody can participate.

"I think the Knight Institute is right", Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, told HuffPost. However, the right to freedom of speech is not a right to be heard. The amendment says the USA government should not block people from being able to speak freely and assemble peacefully.

The plaintiffs are asking the Federal District Court for the Southern District of NY to rule that Trump's blocking is unconstitutional, to force him to unblock them, and to forbid him from blocking anyone in the future. Soon after, Buckwalter discovered she had been blocked, the lawsuit said. "The impulse to treat Twitter as a public forum is understandable". Although, in fairness, this does ignore internet trolls' nearly limitless capacity to open new accounts to engage their favourite pastime.

Related news: