Columbia's Knight Institute wins First Amendment lawsuit against Trump

These Twitter users are participating in a constitutionally protected public forum a federal judge has ruled

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that President Trump and his aides can not block critics on Twitter.

The judge acknowledged that even though the president has certain free speech rights, he can not violate the rights of other Twitter users.

But Buchwald did not order Trump or Scavino to unblock the individual plaintiffs in the case or prohibit them from blocking others from the account based on their views as the plaintiffs' had asked. The judge agreed but said that even considering the president's First Amendment rights, preventing users from interacting directly with him on Twitter represented a violation of a "real, albeit narrow, slice of speech".

"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", said Jameel Jaffer, executive director of Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, which had filed the lawsuit on behalf of the group.

Duke University constitutional law professor Stuart Benjamin said he disagreed with Buchwald's finding that parts of Trump and other officials' Twitter accounts were public forums.

The blocked: Along with Cohen, several other Twitter users have accused Trump of blocking them on Twitter.

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In the past week, he has repeatedly claimed in multiple tweets that the Justice Department put a "spy" inside his presidential campaign to frame him for "crimes he didn't commit" amid mounting questions over his campaign's possible collusion with Russian Federation.

"Because no government official is above the law and because all government officials are presumed to follow the law once the judiciary has said what the law is, we must assume that the President and Scavino will remedy the blocking we have held to be unconstitutional", Buchwald wrote.

The government had argued that blocked individuals could still access the president's tweets. He may be president, the DOJ argued, but Trump still maintains a right to decide who he spends time with on the social media platform. Should Trump ignore the ruling, analysts say, future litigation could force Twitter to unblock Trump's followers unilaterally.

But through his Twitter bio and the way in which he frequently uses the medium to comment on public policy, Trump portrays his account as presidential "and, more importantly, uses the account to take actions that can be taken only by the President as President", Buchwald wrote.

Twitter also has yet to comment on the ruling.

"I think this decision is correct", Giampietro said.

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