Trump can't block his critics on Twitter, judge rules

Judge rules Trump can't block people from Twitter account

The group had questioned the court as to whether a public official can "block" a person from his Twitter account in response to the political views expressed by the concerned person, and whether the US President falls under the purview of such a "public official".

Today, a USA federal court ruled that President Donald Trump can not block his followers on Twitter.

"The US District Judge also said that the viewpoint-based isolation of the individual plaintiffs from that assigned public hearing is ordered by the First Amendment and can not be supported by the President's personal First Amendment interests".

In her ruling, Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald wrote that "no government official - including the President - is above the law, and all government officials are presumed to follow the law as has been declared".

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The US Department of Justice, which represents Trump in the case, had claimed that his Twitter account is a private forum because it was created before he became president. She said she assumed Trump's social media director Dan Scavino would unblock the users in light of her decision.

Buchwald agreed with the plaintiffs' contention that the discussions arising from Trump's tweets should be considered a public forum. The feature prevents selected accounts from appearing in a user's Twitter mentions - effectively blocking them from Trump's view.

"Because no government official is above the law", Judge Buchwald concluded on Wednesday, "we must assume that the President and Scavino will remedy the blocking we have held to be unconstitutional".

Ms Buchwald rejected an argument made by Justice Department lawyers that Mr Trump's own First Amendment rights allowed him to block people with whom he did not wish to interact.

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The institute has filed several other lawsuits against the Trump administration for First Amendment issues, including the government's examination of the social media accounts of people trying to immigrate to the United States. With over 50 million followers, Trump is the world's most followed world leader.

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.

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

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News.

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Twitter has always been dogged by questions about how far its users' right to speech may extend.

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