Trump Challenges Court Ruling Barring Him From Blocking Twitter Users

@realDonaldTrump/Handout via REUTERS

President Donald Trump is challenging a federal appeals court decision that ruled he violated the U.S. Constitution by blocking people whose views he disliked from his Twitter account.

In court papers filed late on Friday by the U.S. Justice Department, Trump sought a rehearing by the full 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, calling the 3-0 decision “fundamentally misconceived.”

Trump has more than 63 million followers on Twitter, and often uses his account to make significant announcements, including Friday when his tweets about trade with China sent U.S. stock and oil prices down sharply.

The three-judge panel last month upheld a May 2018 lower court ruling that forced Trump to unblock several dozen followers.

Twitter Inc and the White House declined to comment.

In the appellate court ruling, Circuit Judge Barrington Parker wrote, “the First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise-open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees.”

White House social media director Dan Scavino, who was also a defendant, is also challenging the appeals court ruling.

The Justice Department court filing Friday warned that if the appeals court ruling was upheld, “public officials who address matters relating to their public office on personal accounts will run the risk that every action taken on that account will be state action subject to constitutional scrutiny.”

Parker, however, had said Trump’s account bears “all the trappings of an official, state-run account” and is “one of the White House’s main vehicles for conducting official business.”

Trump has made his @RealDonaldTrump account, which he opened in 2009, a central and controversial part of his presidency, using it to promote his agenda and attack critics.

His blocking of critics was challenged by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, as well as seven Twitter users he had blocked.

The Justice Department filing noted that since the ruling two lawsuits were filed accusing Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of violating the First Amendment for blocking individuals on her personal Twitter account.

The Justice Department filing said the court’s “mistaken First Amendment reasoning is being applied not just to any public official, but to the President of United States.”

(Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Tom Brown)

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General Confusion
Member

“the President can’t” block users” Charles

You are confused, again, Charles.

I thought that the Republican Party was supposed to be the party of “law & order”. Maybe I was misinformed.

The position of President has rules. They are DIFFERENT rules than what govern companies. King Donald The Loser probably didn’t look into this before he applied for this unique job. That must be what happened.

General Confusion
Member

“You still haven’t said what Socialist Country you’re located in since nearly ALL of your blather is either anti-Trump or anti-America.” Confused James You see, THAT is why you remain being confused. Don’t confuse critism with being anti-American and shoot the messenger, James. Conservatives, especially today’s “Republicants”, can’t understand this. One critiques something so that someone gets off their big, fat butt and does something to make things better. That’s how this great country was formed and that’s how it will get better, over time. Right now, we are in a deep, profound slump and we need someone with the… Read more »

James
Member

>Chbarles<

Liberalism and belonging to what's left of the DemocRATic Party is an incurable mental disorder. Believe we've seen several cases of that here in IJR comments.

Mark
Member

Ya gotta be kidding me . Twitter routinely blocks conservatives, but now it’s unconstitutional for the Pres to block radical leftists? This is going to bite Twitter in the ass, as it should,

General Confusion
Member

You are confused.

In the long run, this doesn’t matter.

King Donald The Loser’s approval rating is so low (it just dropped an average of 2% to the low 40s, in a bunch of polls) that he can’t win re-election. He will either abdicate his throne (Scaramucci) or he will be thrown off of his throne by his subjects, in 2020.

Karin Callaway
Member

Ah! Now we know for sure. Twitter, Facebook, etc., can block those it disagrees with, but Our President does not have the right to block someone who continually countermands his feeds.
Guess I will be next, because if someone starts using foul language even if it is in code, I will block them from my view. If you cannot debate then keep your foul mouth off my page.
Having seen some of those tweets they could fall under the auspices of Threats, Foul Language, and just blowing off steam.

Dave Hardesty
Member

It really comes down to who pays for the Twitter. If he bears all the cost, like other Twitter users do, and yes I am aware that Twitter itself of a free service but the equipment you use to access it isn’t, and that Twitter and the rest of social media can ban anyone they like without good reason, then Trump should be able to manage his account just like every other citizen that uses Twitter and block/ban those he chooses.

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