Trump blocking Twitter critics raises First Amendment concerns

Author

08 June, 2017

"The viewpoint-based blocking of our clients is unconstitutional", wrote attorneys at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University in NY wrote. "Why didn't you attend your #PittsburghNotParis rally in DC, Sir?" he asked, adding "#fakeleader".

Being blocked on Twitter by President Donald Trump might be seen as a singular accomplishment by some users of the social media service.

The President uses his personal Twitter account to express what are clearly personal opinions, such as his rant yesterday against the "Fake News of CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, washpost or nytimes".

A free speech advocacy group from Columbia University complained on Tuesday that Trump blocks the Twitter accounts of people he doesn't agree with. Additionally, the @realDonaldTrump handle predates Trump's election and is not even his official government account, @POTUS, which was created and is maintained by the White House.

"This is an emerging issue", says Helen Norton, a University of Colorado Law School professor who specializes in First Amendment law.

The demand, made in a letter to President Trump, was sent on behalf of Holly O'Reilly and Joseph M. Papp, two Twitter users who were blocked by the president's account after criticizing him on the social media network. Public forum doctrine has to do with the right of people to speak, not the right of anyone being forced to communicate with them.”.

The letter implies that if the Trump administration does not comply and unblock designated users, the users will consider suing the administration. He also argued that Trump has 1st Amendment rights on Twitter that could supersede those of the people he blocks, and that not everyone gets the right to respond to the president's statements - not unlike a news conference, where only some reporters get the opportunity to ask a question.

Huma Abedin Files for Divorce From Anthony Weiner
Under the plea deal, Weiner agreed to register as a sex offender and not to appeal a sentence between 21 and 27 months in prison. He surrendered to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in NY early Friday and appeared in court late-morning, telling U.S.

Abdo said he isnt aware of another case involving a public official blocking his or her constituents on Twitter. During Tuesday's press briefing, Sean Spicer said that the president's tweets are in fact official White House statements, even though Spicer himself spends considerable time at these briefings distancing the White House from Trump's messages on Twitter.

Trump is the 45th President of the United States. The Institute said it would go after both accounts with "equal force".

"Arguably, and very arguably hurling expletives at the President could fall under manner restriction, but the Supreme Court has said that one man's profanity is another man's lyric", he said.

Trump's Twitter use has drawn intense media attention for his unvarnished commentary about his agenda and attacks on critics.

Legal experts have said his tweets may directly affect policy.

WASHINGTON-A majority of voters believe that President Donald Trump is tweeting too much, according to a Morning Consult/POLITICO poll released Wednesday.


More news


  • Van mounts curb, hits people on London Bridge

    At least 20 people have been taken to six hospitals following terror attacks at London Bridge and Borough Market in London . She said it was a fast-moving investigation and her thoughts were with "those who are caught up in these awful events".
    China makes concessions to Germany on electric car quotas (VOW3, DAI, BMW)

    China makes concessions to Germany on electric car quotas (VOW3, DAI, BMW)

    Merkel and Li met hours ahead of Trump's decision on whether to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord. She said Beijing will uphold the outcome of the Paris Agreement and its implementation.

    Silver thinks LaVar Ball 'will settle down' once Lonzo is drafted

    He will not work out for the Boston Celtics , the team that won the first overall pick at the draft lottery two weeks ago. Big Baller Brand co-founder LaVar Ball is sticking to his guns and banking on himself and his family.
  • Taylor's 9th-inning slam leads Dodgers over Brewers 10-8

    ESPN reports Dodgers pitchers set a franchise record for strikeouts in a game with 26, tying an Major League Baseball record. He retired 20 consecutive batters before surrendering a home run to Domingo Santana at Miller Park stadium in Milwaukee.
    UK's May sees lead slip further, still set for majority - Opinium poll

    UK's May sees lead slip further, still set for majority - Opinium poll

    The two, who did not appear on screen together, but rather in separate segments on a BBC programme called Question Time . The striking thing, though, is that it looks, at first sight, like the Tories have reined in their ambitions.

    Social media rushes to define Trump's 'covfefe' tweet

    Naturally, the briefing ended with a discussion of fake news, a topic that Spicer was visibly more comfortable with. More people - 42 percent - thought Spicer hurt the administration compared to the 28 percent who thought he helped.
  • Liverpool 'ready to break record' for Van Dijk

    Liverpool face an almighty battle to capture Virgil van Dijk - with Southampton prepared to ask for up to £75million for the player.

    England book semi-final berth with 87-run win over New Zealand

    Alex Hales and Joe Root made up for the loss of Roy with an 81-run partnership, during which Hales brought up his half-century. New Zealand face Bangladesh in their Group A finale and will need to win and hope England deny Australia victory to progress.

    Two Colorado students advance to next round in National Spelling Bee

    According to the Scripps web site, Ishreet "loves to spell, and she puts in a lot of work when she sits down to study". Twelve-year-old Melodie, and her mother, Debbie Loya, both from Bainbridge, arrived at the Bee Sunday afternoon.
  • 'Revenge' not Mladenovic's plan for Bacsinszky rematch

    A year after showing so much resolve while winning the French Open , Muguruza fell apart down the stretch. No. 20 Pablo Carreno Busta, and Djokovic vs.

    Nunes remains powerful force in House Russia probe

    Rice, Power and Brennan are believed to have knowledge of recent intelligence leaks to media outlets as well as unmasking American citizens.
    Markets Right Now: S&P 500, Nasdaq on track for more records

    Markets Right Now: S&P 500, Nasdaq on track for more records

    The ADP report is often seen as a preview for the closely-watched USA nonfarm payrolls data due out on Friday. Wages also grew less than expected, with average hourly earnings rising at a 2.5 percent annualized rate.