Trump can block people on Twitter if he wants, administration says

Trump can block people on Twitter if he wants, administration says

The administration of President Donald Trump is scoffing at a lawsuit by Twitter users who claim in a federal lawsuit that their constitutional rights are being violated because the president has blocked them from his @realDonaldTrump Twitter handle. In addition, the Justice Department said the courts are powerless to tell Trump how he can manage his private Twitter handle, which has 35.8 million followers. "To the extent that the President's management of his Twitter account constitutes state action, it is unquestionably action that lies within his discretion as Chief Executive; it is therefore outside the scope of judicial enforcement," Baer wrote. The lawsuit, filed last month, claims Trump's Twitter feed is a public forum and an official voice of the president. Excluding people from reading or replying to his tweets—especially because they tweeted critical comments—amounts to a First Amendment breach, according to the lawsuit. That said, he believes "the matter is not open and shut." There's some legal precedent on the topic, too. Last month, a federal judge in Virginia ruled that a local politician had violated the First Amendment rights of a constituent because the politician briefly banned the constituent from the politician's personal Facebook account, where she discussed public business. In the Trump case, the Justice Department notes that people blocked by the president can still view his tweets if they log out of Twitter. No hearing date has been set.

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The administration of President Donald Trump is scoffing at a lawsuit by Twitter users who claim in a federal lawsuit that their constitutional rights are being violated because the president has blocked them from his @realDonaldTrump Twitter handle.

“It would send the First Amendment deep into uncharted waters to hold that a president’s choices about whom to follow, and whom to block, on Twitter—a privately run website that, as a central feature of its social-media platform, enables all users to block particular individuals from viewing posts—violate the Constitution.” That’s part of what Michael Baer, a Justice Department attorney, wrote to the New York federal judge overseeing the lawsuit Friday.

In addition, the Justice Department said the courts are powerless to tell Trump how he can manage his private Twitter handle, which has 35.8 million followers.

“To the extent that the President’s management of his Twitter account constitutes state action, it is unquestionably action that lies within his discretion as Chief Executive; it is therefore outside the scope of judicial enforcement,” Baer wrote. (PDF)

Baer added that an order telling Trump how to manage his Twitter feed “would raise…

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