Judge Rules President Donald Trump Cannot Block Twitter Trolls

US President Donald Trump attends a roundtable discussion on the MS-13 gang in the Cabinet Room of the White House on February 6, 2018
Mandel Ngan/AFP

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that President Donald Trump cannot block the accounts of his persistent Twitter critics, arguing that those individuals have a First Amendment right to view and interact with the @realdonaldtrump account using their profiles.

In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Naomi Buchwald wrote: “The viewpoint-based exclusion of the individual plaintiffs from that designated public forum is prescribed by the First Amendment and cannot be justified by the President’s personal First Amendment interests.”

“This case requires us to consider whether a public official may, consistent with the First Amendment, ‘block’ a person from his Twitter account in response to the political views that person has expressed, and whether the analysis differs because that public official is the President of the United States,” added Buchwald. “The answer to both questions is no.”

The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University filed the lawsuit in July 2017.

“We’re pleased with the court’s decision, which reflects a careful application of core First Amendment principles to government censorship on a new communications platform,” Jameel Jaffer, the institute’s executive director, said in a statement.

Read the full opinion here.

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