Trump Violated First Amendment By Blocking Twitter Followers, Ruled The U.S. Appeals Court

Trump Violated First Amendment By Blocking Twitter Followers, Ruled The U.S. Appeals Court

The ruling reaffirms the previous ruling by a lower court which also came to the same conclusion and the Appeals Court now deems the matter resolved.

A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals which was looking at a lower court's judgement unanimously upheld its decision that by blocking Twitter users from his official Twitter account, Donald Trump was violating the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

The judges, in their verdict, wrote that "[The] First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise-open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees."

The case was initially filed by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University on behalf of seven people who were blocked by Donald Trump's official Twitter feed. A lower court had already ruled along the same lines but the case was taken to the Appeals Court where the ruling remained the same. 



 

The judges also wrote in their judgment that "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 a disfavored speech on matters of public concern is more speech, not less."

The argument provided by the government representatives in the court was that Trump was acting as a private Twitter user and had the right to block certain users "because the function is available to all users." But the panel of judges said that Donald Trump's account acted and is "one of the White House's main vehicles for conducting official business."

This judgment marks an important milestone as it may be seen as a precedent for future cases. The use of public platforms, like Twitter, by a person occupying a public office may come under scrutiny and it would no longer be tenable to say that one was using it in a private capacity. 

Donald Trump has quite often relied on Twitter, more than anything else, to speak his mind and as the President, his personal account may not enjoy the privilege of being considered personal anymore, but as a medium through which administration and the people interact.

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