Twitter lawsuit against Trump for blocking followers just got a boost


Since taking office in the White House, President Trump blocked several of his Twitter followers after they criticized or mocked him on his Twitter account @realDonaldTrump.

Seven blocked Twitter followers and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University sued Trump earlier this month. The lawsuit claims that the First Amendment forbids the president from blocking followers because his account is an internet version of a government public square, open to all.

That Twitter lawsuit against Trump just got a boost in a similar case.

In a case in Virginia, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday that an elected official cannot block users on her Facebook page.

SEE: Melania Trump, President Trump at a recent Ohio rally:

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Melania Trump, President Trump at Ohio rally
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Melania Trump, President Trump at Ohio rally
US President Donald Trump kisses First Lady Melania Trump during a Make America Great Again rally at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown, Ohio, July 25, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump kisses first lady Melania Trump after she introduced him at a rally with supporters in an arena in Youngstown, Ohio, U.S. July 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump take the stage for a rally with supporters in an arena in Youngstown, Ohio, U.S. July 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. first lady Melania Trump (C) takes her seat after introducing her husband President Donald Trump at a rally with supporters in an arena in Youngstown, Ohio, U.S. July 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House advisor Omarosa Manigault (L), Eric Trump (2nd R) and his wife Lara Trump (2nd L) and first lady Melania Trump take their seats at the side of the stage as U.S. President Donald Trump holds a rally with supporters in an arena in Youngstown, Ohio, U.S. July 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump (C) walks with U.S. Air Force Colonel Casey Eaton (R) as he and first lady Melania Trump (L) board Air Force One for travel to Ohio from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. July 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump (L) is introduced by first lady Melania at a rally with supporters in an arena in Youngstown, Ohio, U.S. July 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
First Lady Melania Trump joins President Trump on-stage at President Trump's Make America Great Again Rally on July 25, 2017 in Youngstown, OH. (Photo by Kyle Mazza/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
YOUNGSTOWN, OH - JULY 25: U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump embrace after a rally at the Covelli Centre on July 25, 2017 in Youngstown, Ohio. The rally coincides with the Senates vote on GOP legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. (Photo by Justin Merriman/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive for a 'Make America Great Again' rally at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown, Ohio, July 25, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive for a 'Make America Great Again' rally at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown, Ohio, July 25, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
YOUNGSTOWN, OH - JULY 25: First lady Melania Trump, Eric Trump and his wife Lara Yunaska listen as U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a rally at the Covelli Centre on July 25, 2017 in Youngstown, Ohio. The rally coincides with the Senates vote on GOP legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. (Photo by Justin Merriman/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 25: U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump cross the South Lawn after arriving at the White House July 25, 2017 in Washington, D.C. The Trumps were returning from a rally in Ohio. (Photo by Zach Gibson-Pool/Getty Images)
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Loudoun County Supervisor Phyllis J. Randall was sued after she blocked one of her constituents from her Facebook page. She called the page her "county Facebook page" and posted, "I really want to hear from ANY Loudoun citizen on ANY issues, request, criticism, compliment, or just your thoughts."

But Randall blocked one of her constituents after he posted allegations on her official Facebook page about supposed corruption by the county's school board. Randall also deleted his post. The next day, she unblocked the constituent. But he sued, saying he had been unable to post for 12 hours.

U.S. District Judge James C. Cacheris ruled that Randall implicitly conceded that she had blocked her constituent "because she was offended by his criticism of her colleagues in the County government."

The judge concluded that Randall "engaged in viewpoint discrimination" in violation of the First Amendment.

Trump probably will argue that his Twitter account is not a public government forum because, unlike the elected official in Virginia, he set up his Twitter account in 2009 as a private citizen and the account remains his personal account, not a government account.

But a court might reject that argument, citing Trump's repeated use of his Twitter handle to tell his 34.7 million followers about official government events, policies and government actions.

The most recent example of Trump using his Twitter account to make an official government announcement about a change in the law is Trump's tweet on Tuesday announcing a new federal rule to ban transgender military personnel.

Read original story Twitter Lawsuit Against Trump for Blocking Followers Just Got a Boost At TheWrap

RELATED: President Trump addresses members of law enforcement:

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President Trump addresses members of law enforcement
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President Trump addresses members of law enforcement
BRENTWOOD, NY - JULY 28: President Donald Trump speaks at Suffolk Community College on July 28, 2017 in Brentwood, New York. Trump, speaking close to where the violent street gang MS-13 has committed a number of murders, urged Congress to dedicate more funding to border enforcement and faster deportations. Trump spoke to an audience that included to law enforcement officers and the family members of crime victims. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
BRENTWOOD, NY - JULY 28: President Donald Trump speaks at Suffolk Community College on July 28, 2017 in Brentwood, New York. Trump, speaking close to where the violent street gang MS-13 has committed a number of murders, urged Congress to dedicate more funding to border enforcement and faster deportations. Trump spoke to an audience that included to law enforcement officers and the family members of crime victims. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Police officers applaud as U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks about his proposed U.S. government effort against the street gang Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, to a gathering of federal, state and local law enforcement officials in Brentwood, New York, U.S. July 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks about his proposed U.S. government effort against the street gang Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, to a gathering of federal, state and local law enforcement officials in Brentwood, New York, U.S. July 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
BRENTWOOD, NY - JULY 28: President Donald Trump speaks at Suffolk Community College on July 28, 2017 in Brentwood, New York. Trump, speaking close to where the violent street gang MS-13 has committed a number of murders, urged Congress to dedicate more funding to border enforcement and faster deportations. Trump spoke to an audience that included to law enforcement officers and the family members of crime victims. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Police officers look on as U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks about his proposed U.S. government effort against the street gang Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, to a gathering of federal, state and local law enforcement officials in Brentwood, New York, U.S. July 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
BRENTWOOD, NY - JULY 28: President Donald Trump speaks at Suffolk Community College on July 28, 2017 in Brentwood, New York. Trump, speaking close to where the violent street gang MS-13 has committed a number of murders, urged Congress to dedicate more funding to border enforcement and faster deportations. Trump spoke to an audience that included to law enforcement officers and the family members of crime victims. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump delivers remarks on law enforcement at Suffolk Community College in Ronkonkoma, New York July 28, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Police officers look on as U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks about his proposed U.S. government effort against the street gang Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, to a gathering of federal, state and local law enforcement officials in Brentwood, New York, U.S. July 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Police officers applaud a line by U.S. President Donald Trump as he delivers remarks about his proposed U.S. government effort against the street gang Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, to a gathering of federal, state and local law enforcement officials at the Long Island University campus in Brentwood, New York, U.S. July 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Police officers look on as U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks about his proposed U.S. government effort against the street gang Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, to a gathering of federal, state and local law enforcement officials in Brentwood, New York, U.S. July 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks about his proposed U.S. government effort against the street gang Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, to a gathering of federal, state and local law enforcement officials in Brentwood, New York, U.S. July 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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