Is Trump's blocking of Twitter critics unconstitutional?
Trump's Twitter blockades are unconstitutional
US government officials are not allowed to block other Twitter accounts for critical tweets or replies, making retweets and public replies difficult. This decision of a US federal district court from the previous year has now been confirmed by the competent US federal appeals court for the second federal judicial district. Trump has admitted to having blocked about a hundred users because he did not like their reactions in terms of content.
After the first instance judgment, he had lifted the user blockades, but continued to fight to be allowed to block. All non-blocked Twitter users can reply to Trump's tweets and retweet them with or without a comment. This makes Trump's Twitter feed a public forum whose participation must be open to all US citizens. This is stated in the first amendment to the US Constitution. Blocking vulgarly bullying users would probably be permissible, but such cases were not at issue.
Trump's arguments are not convincing
Trump's lawyers argued in the appeal hearing that although the Twitter account could not be separated from the presidency, the blockades of individual users were purely a private matter. In addition, the president's account is only intended for his own expression of opinion; Third parties therefore have no right of access and thus do not enjoy the protection of the first additional article. Insofar as the tweets are state expressions of opinion, the first additional article does not apply. It is not a public forum at all, and even if it does, everyone can read along.
"We are not convinced," the three judges of the Federal Court of Appeal unanimously state in their ruling, "We come to the conclusion that the evidence of the official quality of the account is overwhelming Platform and opened its interactive space for millions of users and participants, is not allowed to selectively exclude those whose opinion he does not share. "
Court: discussion better than muzzle
"Negotiating this appeal, we remind the parties to the dispute and the public that, if the first amendment has any weight, it means that the best response to unsolicited comments on public affairs is more, not less," the court writes to all Americans in the studbook.
Seven affected Twitterati had sued with the support of the Knight First Amendment Institute. This Columbia University institution in New York is committed to promoting freedom of the press and expression. The procedure is called Knight First Amendment Institute et al vs. Donald J. Trump et al and was decided by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit under Az. 18‐1691 ‐ cv. Trump could try to get the US Supreme Court to hear another appeal. That would have little chance of success.
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