A federal judge has ruled it is unconstitutional and a violation of the First amendment for President Donald Trump to block people from his Twitter account. U.S. district Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald ordered Trump to unblock those he has prevented from seeing his tweets, writing Wednesday morning that “the blocking of the individual plaintiffs has the discrete impact of preventing them from interacting directly with the president’s tweets, thereby restricting a real, albeit narrow, slice of speech. No more is needed to violate the Constitution.”
— Knight 1st Amendment (@knightcolumbia) May 23, 2018
The lawsuit, filed by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, was on behalf of seven people who were blocked by Trump’s twitter account, @realDonaldTrump. Judge Buchwald ruled that because Twitter is defined as an “interactive space” in which constituents can interact with Donald Trump’s tweets, it thus qualifies as a public forum, meaning blocking users unconstitutionally restricts their speech.
“This case requires us to consider whether a public official may, consistent with the First Amendment, ‘block’ a person from his Twitter account in response to the political views that person has expressed, and whether the analysis differs because that public official is the President of the United States,” the decision states. “The answer to both questions is no.”
Dan Scavino — who helps run Trump’s social media accounts — is named in the lawsuit as the man who must “remedy” the situation at hand by unblocking the Twitter accounts.
“Because no government official is above the law and because all government officials are presumed to follow the law once the judiciary has said what the law is, we must assume that the president and Scavino will remedy the blocking we have held to be unconstitutional,” wrote the judge.
Nearly all of the seven individuals represented by the Knight First Amendment Institute responded to the ruling on Twitter: