United States federal court says 'NO' to President Donald Trump

Federal judge rules that Trump can’t block Twitter users from his account

A U.S. judge has ruled President Donald Trump can not legally block Twitter users because doing so violates their right to free speech.

On Wednesday, a judge in NY described the president's Twitter account as a public forum, and said blocking Twitter users for their views violated their right to free speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution. "Trump's personal Twitter account has become a public forum and this court concluded that he can not block those who disagree with him and only allow those who agree with him".

She said she assumed Trump's social media director Dan Scavino would unblock the users in light of her decision. On Wednesday the judge agreed with their argument that the social media platform qualifies as a "designated public forum" granted to all USA citizens.

The judge did, however, state that Trump could mute Twitter users, which remains constitutional as he still has the ability to reply to an account that he has muted.

The ruling has been described as a major victory for free speech as modern communication platforms continue to stretch freedom of expression laws.

The virtual space provided by Twitter for replying to the President's Tweets is a "designated public forum" - a space controlled (even if not owned) by the government that is generally open for public speech to fellow members of the public, and in which the First Amendment forbids viewpoint discrimination.

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The case was brought last July by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and seven individuals blocked by Trump after criticizing the Republican president. With over 50 million followers, Trump is the world's most followed world leader.

The Justice Department and Twitter are yet to comment on the ruling. That means that those users are free to share their views with the Twitter universe at-large, but Trump won't have to see those tweets.

"Since then, quite a few other folks including many other of my fellow veterans, have also lifted up the fact that they've been blocked by the president of the United States on Twitter as well", Fischer said, noting that he found the move troubling.

Teigen posted a reaction video Wednesday on Twitter, in which she watches the news unfold on MSNBC and makes a face that says it all, captioned "well well well we meet again".

Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan issued the written decision Wednesday. But he can't prevent his critics from participating in a public forum, which is what his Twitter feed has become. And does it matter if that public official is the president? "If that's the case, the government doesn't get to pick and choose who is allowed in". A federal judge denied a request for a preliminary court order that would've stopped the governor from blocking anyone. The Knight Institute also sued a local Virginia government after representative Phyllis Randall blocked a consistent, Brian Davison, on Facebook.

One of the users blocked by Trump, according to the letter, was Holly O'Reilly, whose @AynRandPaulRand account was blocked in May 2017 after posting a GIF of Pope Francis glancing at Trump with a troubled expression, above which she wrote, "This is pretty much how the whole world sees you".

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