President Donald Trump can’t block Twitter users because of their political opinions without violating the First Amendment, a New York federal judge has ruled.
Trump, along with others associated with his administration, was sued last summer by a handful of Twitter users and the Knight First Amendment Institute. They claimed the president uses Twitter as a public forum to share official information in his capacity as president and therefore was violating their right to petition the government by blocking them.
The Department of Justice, in a motion for summary judgment filed in October, challenged plaintiffs’ standing to sue and argued his use of the social media platform isn’t regulated by the First Amendment.
In a 75-page order issued Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald found that Twitter is indeed a designated public forum and “viewpoint-based exclusion” of the plaintiffs from that forum violates the First Amendment.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and former communications director Hope Hicks are dismissed as defendants in the suit, but social media director Daniel Scavino remains a defendant because he routinely accesses Trump’s Twitter account.
While this lawsuit targets Trump’s behavior, Buchwald’s ruling extends to all public officials — and could likely spark a wave of similar litigation against other block-happy government employees.
“This case requires us to consider whether…