Trump banned from blocking Twitter users from his account

US President Donald Trump's Twitter feed on a computer screen in Washington | AP

US President Donald Trump's Twitter feed on a computer screen in Washington | AP

Cohen, who was blocked from Trump's account last June after posting an image of the president with words "Corrupt Incompetent Authoritarian", said he was "delighted" with Wednesday's decision.

A federal judge in NY has ruled that President Donald Trump may not legally block Twitter users because doing so violates their right to free speech under the First Amendment of the constitution.

McConnell said he was skeptical of the lawsuit when he first heard about it because Twitter is "really a 21st century way of writing, receiving letters".

The case could affect other social media interactions involving public officials. Trump uses the Twitter account for policy and diplomatic announcements as well as to lash out at the media and special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. "N$3 o government official - including the President - is above the law", she wrote, "and all government officials are presumed to follow the law as has been declared".

The case was brought forward by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, representing seven plaintiffs who have been blocked by the president.

He added that not being privy to Trump's tweets has sometimes left him baffled.

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"No more is needed to violate the Constitution", she wrote. Instead, doing so limits their "right to speak in a discrete, measurable way".

But to block someone both prevents that person from seeing tweets and from responding to them, preventing them from even accessing a public forum.

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The government does not dispute that Trump blocked the Twitter users for political reasons.

According to the ruling, US District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald claims that by blocking users on Twitter, it apparently violates the First Amendment.

In an email to The Associated Press, department spokesperson Kerri Kupec said, "We respectfully disagree with the court's decision and are considering our next steps".

Twitter also issued no comment.

"The essence of this ruling is that viewpoint discrimination is prohibited", Calvert said.

Trump might have had a better argument for blocking his critics on Twitter, but he's the one who chose to turn his personal account into an official arm of the presidency.

Buchwald boiled down the case to two simple questions: Can a public official block someone from seeing her or his Twitter feed given First Amendment protections of free speech?

"It's astonishing a public official can suppress our speech for being critical", she said. A city government can't say that only Republicans, Christians, or vegetarians are allowed to hold rallies in the town square, and it can't blacklist activists with a history of criticizing the mayor. But when the animus is levelled back at him, the nation's leader has a habit of silencing those critics by blocking them. In July, a federal court in Virginia said the chair of a county board of supervisors had violated the First Amendment rights of a constituent by blocking him from the county's Facebook page. A federal judge denied a request for a preliminary court order that would've stopped the governor from blocking anyone. Or, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation explained on Twitter in December 2017, "whether through an official or personal account, if a platform is being used to conduct the government's business, the account is subject to the First Amendment".

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