In an opinion yesterday, Judge Buchwald found that President Trump’s practice of blocking users on Twitter (typically after they post a comment critical of the President) violates the First Amendment. The plaintiffs (who included individual users as well as the Knight First Amendment Institute) claimed that preventing them from viewing comments, replying to tweets, and participating in comment threads denies access to an important public forum in the 21st century (see our initial coverage here).
After finding that the plaintiffs had standing, Judge Buchwald determined that the President’s Twitter account was appropriately analyzed as a public forum. Judge Buchwald reasoned that the account is subject to government control for First Amendment purposes in part because President Trump has used the account “to take actions that can be taken only by the President as President.” Judge Buchwald then determined that the President may not block users on Twitter based on their political views. In doing so, she emphasized that blocking users goes further than merely “muting” them, insofar as blocking actually limits the blocked user’s “right to speak”: Continue Reading