Court Rules That First Amendment Prevents Trump From Blocking Critics On Twitter
A federal appeals court has ruled that President Donald Trump cannot block individuals who criticized his policies from seeing his Twitter account as it violates the First Amendment.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, one of the most liberal appeals courts in the country alongside the 9th Circuit in California, upheld the decision of a lower court which said that Trump violates the Constitution when he blocks critics. “The irony in all of this is that we write at a time in the history of this nation when the conduct of our government and its officials is subject to wide-open, robust debate,” Circuit Judge Barrington D. Parker wrote, speaking for the whole three-judge panel.
The court wrote in its decision that the president’s tweets created a wide-reaching, robust discussion and that by blocking critics he was preventing them from joining in that conversation, thereby infringing on their freedom of speech. “This debate, as uncomfortable and as unpleasant as it frequently may be, is nonetheless a good thing,” the 2nd Circuit added. “In resolving this appeal, we remind the litigants and the public that if the First Amendment means anything, it means that the best response to disfavored speech on matters of public concern is more speech, not less.”
The government had argued that the president’s Twitter account was created when he was a private citizen and that by tweeting he was acting outside of his official capacity. Judge Parker expressed criticism of those arguments when they were made earlier this year. “Are you seriously urging us to believe that the president is not acting in his official capacity when he is tweeting?” said the judge. He continued by noting that Trump was preventing citizens from participating in a national discussion, saying, “Why isn’t that just a quintessential First Amendment violation?”