Donald Trump Twitter Lawsuit: Can Critics He Blocked Actually Win?

Donald Trump Twitter Lawsuit: Can Critics He Blocked Actually Win?

Donald Trump Twitter Lawsuit: Can Critics He Blocked Actually Win?. A First Amendment group has filed suit against President Donald Trump on behalf of seven people who were recently blocked by the president's Twitter account, @RealDonaldTrump. The Knight First Amendment Institute's argument is pretty simple: The president's Twitter is a public forum, and Trump is squashing his critics' free speech rights by blocking them on the basis of their political views. The organization sent a letter to the president in early June demanding that he unblock several users and setting the legal basis for a potential suit. The White House didn't respond to that letter, according to a spokesperson for the Knight Institute, so the group formally filed suit in the Southern District of New York on Tuesday. It's not clear whether the president's personal Twitter account will legally be considered a public forum, though White House officials have said that the president's tweets should be regarded as "official statements." I asked if the president would unblock Twitter users who were blocked for expressing their political views. The seven plaintiffs who have joined the Knight Institute's lawsuit are all American Twitter users who were blocked by @RealDonaldTrump. Comics creator Joe Harris was also blocked by Trump, but says he never heard back when he asked to join the lawsuit. If the lawsuit is successful—which is a big "if"—the seven plaintiffs will be able to read and reply to the president's tweets as they wish.

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A First Amendment group has filed suit against President Donald Trump on behalf of seven people who were recently blocked by the president’s Twitter account, @RealDonaldTrump.

The Knight First Amendment Institute’s argument is pretty simple: The president’s Twitter is a public forum, and Trump is squashing his critics’ free speech rights by blocking them on the basis of their political views.

There is no legal or constitutional precedent for a commander-in-chief who uses Twitter as a freewheeling venue to escalate feuds and block those who disagree with or mock him. (Full disclosure: I have also been blocked by President Trump, though I’m not involved with this lawsuit.)

“The idea that a public official could block citizens from hearing their official speech just because they don’t agree with what that person thinks is contrary to basic ideas of the First Amendment,” Katie Fallow, a senior fellow at the Knight Institute, told Newsweek in June. “It’s analogous to the public participation component of a town hall. Allowing people to get up and speak and discuss the issues with each other is such an important part of civic discourse. To block certain speakers just because they’re critical is dangerous and unconstitutional.”

The organization sent a letter to the president in early June demanding that he unblock several users and setting the legal basis for a potential suit. The White House didn’t respond to that letter, according to a spokesperson for the Knight Institute, so the group formally filed suit in the Southern District of New York on Tuesday.

It’s not clear whether the president’s personal Twitter account will legally be considered a public forum, though White House officials have said that the president’s tweets should be regarded as “official statements.”

When asked about the lawsuit by email, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders replied from her iPhone: “We don’t comment…

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