A liberal federal judge’s ruling against President Donald Trump in favor of liberal Twitter trolls could be a major win for right-wingers who’ve been censored and banned from social media.
President Trump can’t block Twitter users from viewing his prolific feed, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
Manhattan Federal Court Judge Naomi Buchwald ruled that Trump’s Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, is a “designated public forum” and protected by the First Amendment.
But the judge stopped short of ordering Trump to unblock his critics, saying she did not want to “enter that legal thicket.”
[…]The first-of-its-kind suit, filed last July by a group of Trump critics blocked from reading his tweets, claimed that the President was violating the First Amendment by taking such action because they expressed views he didn’t like.
“The @realDonaldTrump account is a kind of digital town hall in which the president and his aides use the tweet function to communicate news and information to the public, and members of the public use the reply function to respond to the president and his aides and exchange views with one another,” the lawsuit said.
Justice Department lawyers countered that Trump was within his rights to block certain people in the same way he can ignore certain people in a crowd.
But Buchwald rejected that argument, saying the President’s Twitter feed amounted to a public forum and he can’t cut off those with divergent views.
“The viewpoint-based exclusion of the individual plaintiffs from that designated public forum is proscribed by the First Amendment,” wrote Buchwald, who was appointed by President Clinton.
While liberals are cheering this ruling thinking they pulled one over on “Drumpf,” ruling these heavily censored social media sites are designated public forums and must respect the First Amendment is what everyone on the right with a brain has been pushing for for months.
Here’s the judge’s full statement:
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: granting in part and denying in part 34 Motion for Summary Judgment; granting in part and denying in part 42 Motion for Summary Judgment. We conclude that we have jurisdiction to entertain this dispute. Plaintiffs have established legal injuries that are traceable to the conduct of the President and Daniel Scavino and, despite defendants’ suggestions to the contrary, their injuries are redressable by a favorable judicial declaration. Plaintiffs lack standing, however, to sue Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who is dismissed as a defendant. Hope Hicks is also dismissed as a defendant, in light of her resignation as White House Communications Director. Turning to the merits of plaintiffs’ First Amendment claim, we hold that the speech in which they seek to engage is protected by the First Amendment and that the President and Scavino exert governmental control over certain aspects of the @realDonaldTrump account, including the interactive space of the tweets sent from the account. That interactive space is susceptible to analysis under the Supreme Court’s forum doctrines, and is properly characterized as a designated public forum. The viewpoint-based exclusion of the individual plaintiffs from that designated public forum is proscribed by the First Amendment and cannot be justified by the President’s personal First Amendment interests. In sum, defendants’ motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part, and plaintiffs’ cross-motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part. The Clerk of the Court is directed to terminate the motions pending at docket entries 34 and 42. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald on 5/23/2018) (ama) (Entered: 05/23/2018)
If POTUS can't block users on Twitter per First Amendment violation, can Twitter not shadowban tweets for political content on same basis? We exposed video of Twitter engineers explaining how they specifically target @realdonaldtrump supporters' tweets, and classify them as bots. pic.twitter.com/zZfpMak89v
— James O'Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) May 23, 2018
If the First Amendment prohibits the president blocking, is it unconstitutional for Twitter to ban people?
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) May 23, 2018
If @realDonaldTrump’s personal Twitter account is now legally a public forum and he can not block people, that means every other individual Twitter account is also a public forum and Twitter is violating 1A rights by banning or shadow-banning them.
— Gab: The Free Speech Social Network (@getongab) May 23, 2018
Rep. Keith Ellison has blocked me.
According to a federal court opinion today, this is unconstitutional.
I'll give his office 48 hours to unblock me, in order to comply with the law, before taking further action. pic.twitter.com/6rtdISLfEi
— Mike Cernovich 🇺🇸 (@Cernovich) May 23, 2018