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 Judge Buchwald: Trump Can’t Block Twitter Users Under First Amendment

Last week, Judge Buchwald heard oral argument (see transcript here) on summary judgment motions in Knight First Amendment Institute v. Donald J. Trump (see our previous coverage here). The suit alleges that President Trump and others violated the First Amendment when they blocked Twitter users who wrote tweets critical of the president.  The plaintiffs claim 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.

Continue Reading In Trump Twitter Case, Parties Dispute Whether President’s Tweets Are Government Action; Judge Buchwald Floats “Muting” Compromise

Yesterday, the Second Circuit affirmed Judge Stein’s decision last year to dismiss a suit by Citizens United challenging New York’s charity reporting laws (see our previous coverage here). Citizens United challenged the New York Attorney General’s requirement that charities file an un-redacted Schedule B, a form listing the names and contribution amounts of the charity’s donors, before receiving a license to solicit contributions in the state.

Continue Reading Second Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Suit Challenging New York’s Charity Reporting Laws

In papers filed Friday, lawyers for President Trump sought summary judgment in a First Amendment challenge to the President’s blocking of users on Twitter (see our prior coverage here).  The brief argues (among other things) that President Trump’s use of Twitter does not constitute “state action”:
Continue Reading DOJ: President Trump’s Blocking of Twitter Users Is Not “State Action” For First Amendment Purposes

In an opinion Wednesday in a case under the TCPA, a law that (among other things) bars calls without consent to cell phones via automatic dealings systems, Judge Oeken rejected the defendant’s argument that, by exempting government debt collection calls from the ban, the law is a form of speech discrimination that violates the First Amendment.

Judge Oekten found that, while the law “imposes a content-based restriction on speech” and thereby merits “strict scrutiny,” the law was nonetheless justified under that standard:
Continue Reading Judge Oetken: Law Banning Robocalls to Cell Phones, Except Where Government is Collecting Debts, Does Not Violate First Amendment

On Friday, Judge Netburn rejected the New Yorker magazine’s letter request to release a sealed deposition of former NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly, in a case brought by Muslim officer who sued Mr. Kelly and New York City for discrimination but lost on summary judgment.  She found that she lacked jurisdiction to grant the request because the proper procedural vehicle is a motion to intervene under Rule 24 — which the District Court cannot address while an appeal is pending:
Continue Reading Judge Netburn Refuses New Yorker Magazine’s Request for Ray Kelly’s Deposition Because Appeal Divested Her of Jurisdiction

Today, Judge Castel denied an attempt to enjoin the enforcement of New York’s Election Law § 17-130, or the so-called “ballot selfie” ban.  Judge Castel found that the state’s interest in protecting against voter fraud and intimidation by preventing voters from revealing the content of their ballots (even if through Instagram) was a reasonable First Amendment restriction:
Continue Reading Judge Castel Denies Injunction Against Enforcement of “Ballot Selfie” Ban