Court: Trump can’t block critics on Twitter
by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 7/09/19, 12:38 pm
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York on Tuesday ruled that President Donald Trump cannot ban critics from accessing his personal Twitter account, upholding a lower court ruling that concluded a public official cannot use a social media account for “all manner of official purposes” while excluding people who disagree from an otherwise open online dialogue.
“The irony in all of this is that we write at a time in the history of this nation when the conduct of our government and its officials is subject to wide-open, robust debate,” wrote U.S. Circuit Judge Barrington D. Parker on behalf of a three-judge panel. “In resolving this appeal, we remind the litigants and the public that if the First Amendment means anything, it means that the best response to disfavored speech on matters of public concern is more speech, not less.”
The U.S. Department of Justice did not immediately comment on the ruling.
The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University sued on behalf of seven people the president blocked from his Twitter account for criticizing his policies. The oral arguments questioned whether Trump acted in his official capacity on his personal Twitter account, which has more than 60 million followers.
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