On Wednesday, Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, appointed by President Bill Clinton, confirmed in a voice vote on the senate floor, meaning the vote total was not recorded, in July of 1999, ruled that President Trump’s twitter account is considered a public forum and there for he can not block other twitter users, as you or I can, but that he can mute them, as you or I can.
The ruling was brought about when in September of 2017, when on behalf of users blocked by President Trump, Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University filed a law suit in the Southern District of New York.
The 75 page ruling gives the background information of the case, who can be sued, Sarah Sanders, while included in the suit in her official capacity is ruled to not have access to the twitter account in question and therefore, not party to the suit, but President Trump, and Daniel Scavino both having access to the said twitter account, can in fact be sued.
On page 37 the Judge states the primary point of the dispute between the blocked users and President Trump, “The primary point of dispute between the parties is whether a public official’s blocking of the individual plaintiffs on Twitter implicates a forum for First Amendment purposes.”
From page 37 to page 74, the judge goes through each process and case law pertinent to Freedom of Speech that led to her ruling on Wednesday Morning.
On page 74, the Judge states her conclusion, “that the President and Scavino exert governmental control over certain aspects of the @realDonaldTrump account, including the interactive space of the tweets sent from the account. She continues writing that “The viewpoint-based exclusion of the individual plaintiffs from that designated public forum is proscribed by the First Amendment and cannot be justified by the President’s personal First Amendment interests.”
Why it Matters:
Our Constitution protects us from the government, our Freedom of Speech, can not be “suppressed,” by a government employee, and President Trump is the head of that Government, he can still in fact do what we are taught to do as young kids, “ignore” aka “mute” the user, muting the user, as the judge explains on page 66, “whereas muting preserves the muted account’s ability to reply to a tweet sent by the muting account, blocking precludes the blocked user from “see[ing] or reply[ing] to the blocking user’s tweets” entirely. It’s also important to note, that both POTUS account and realdonaldtrump account on twitter are being handled as Official White House communications and archived as such.