Federal judge rules Trump can’t block people on Twitter

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that President Donald Trump may not block people on Twitter over the political views they share on social media ― a tactic his administration has employed against at least dozens of people. 

Siding with the Knight First Amendment Institute in a lawsuit against Trump and his communications team, U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in New York concluded that blocking people on Twitter violated their First Amendment rights. Trump was engaging in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination by blocking critics in a “public forum,” the court ruled.

“We hold that portions of the @realDonaldTrump account ― the ‘interactive space’ where Twitter users may directly engage with the content of the President’s tweets ― are properly analyzed under the ‘public forum’ doctrines set forth by the Supreme Court,” Buchwald said in her ruling.

RELATED: All of President Trump's tweets about the Mueller Russia probe

33 PHOTOS
Trump's tweets about the Mueller Russia probe
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Trump's tweets about the Mueller Russia probe
So disgraceful that the questions concerning the Russian Witch Hunt were “leaked” to the media. No questions on Col… https://t.co/T2n7SAWgJp
There was no Collusion (it is a Hoax) and there is no Obstruction of Justice (that is a setup & trap). What there i… https://t.co/WU8JFuWLJi
House Intelligence Committee rules that there was NO COLLUSION between the Trump Campaign and Russia. As I have bee… https://t.co/n4809kuVx3
Just Out: House Intelligence Committee Report released. “No evidence” that the Trump Campaign “colluded, coordinate… https://t.co/3erasoPL4N
This memo totally vindicates “Trump” in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their was no Collusion an… https://t.co/GPYj4JbKgN
It would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened! Witch Hunt!
This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!
You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history - led by some very bad and conflicted people! #MAGA
“Russians had no compromising information on Donald Trump” @FoxNews Of course not, because there is none, and neve… https://t.co/R9sniNq1ar
Congratulations to @ABC News for suspending Brian Ross for his horrendously inaccurate and dishonest report on the… https://t.co/wEVP4iGN6n
The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime. It was base… https://t.co/oMCKEA7WmJ
The 13 Angry Democrats in charge of the Russian Witch Hunt are starting to find out that there is a Court System in… https://t.co/W32TtSNOrw
A must watch: Legal Scholar Alan Dershowitz was just on @foxandfriends talking of what is going on with respect to… https://t.co/EZ7cdgtUUo
A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!
A complete Witch Hunt!
The Russia Witch Hunt is rapidly losing credibility. House Intelligence Committee found No Collusion, Coordination… https://t.co/MMfLEunjG6
The single greatest Witch Hunt in American history continues. There was no collusion, everybody including the Dems… https://t.co/j7rc1QKCLw
James Comey Memos just out and show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION. Also, he leaked classif… https://t.co/YfMYBrTkza
As the phony Russian Witch Hunt continues, two groups are laughing at this excuse for a lost election taking hold, Democrats and Russians!
...case against him & now wants to clear his name by showing "the false or misleading testimony by James Comey, John Brennan..." Witch Hunt!
The MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN agenda is doing very well despite the distraction of the Witch Hunt. Many new jobs, high business enthusiasm,..
Jared Kushner did very well yesterday in proving he did not collude with the Russians. Witch Hunt. Next up, 11 year old Barron Trump!
When James Clapper himself, and virtually everyone else with knowledge of the witch hunt, says there is no collusion, when does it end?
My son Donald did a good job last night. He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!
Despite the phony Witch Hunt going on in America, the economic & jobs numbers are great. Regulations way down, jobs and enthusiasm way up!
A total WITCH HUNT with massive conflicts of interest!
Is this Phony Witch Hunt going to go on even longer so it wrongfully impacts the Mid-Term Elections, which is what… https://t.co/7LtsbGyV80
The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime. It was base… https://t.co/oMCKEA7WmJ
Much of the bad blood with Russia is caused by the Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation, headed up by the all Democr… https://t.co/eA1AtTPv49
“Special Council is told to find crimes, whether a crime exists or not. I was opposed to the selection of Mueller t… https://t.co/KYsOPqiVBG
I have agreed with the historically cooperative, disciplined approach that we have engaged in with Robert Mueller (… https://t.co/yjSuYhmzJb
Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans? An… https://t.co/wKNAVhWJcz
If I wanted to fire Robert Mueller in December, as reported by the Failing New York Times, I would have fired him.… https://t.co/wi7FDNjqK7
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Twitter is often the first communication channel Trump turns to when making major announcements. Last July, for example, he used the social media outlet to reveal his plans to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. armed forces. 

The ruling notes that “the @realDonaldTrump account has been used in the course of the appointment of officers (including cabinet secretaries), the removal of officers, and the conduct of foreign policy.”

In addition to the president, defendants named in the lawsuit include former White House communications director Hope Hicks, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and social media director Dan Scavino ― the man thought to be behind much of Trump’s unusual social media behavior. However, Buchwald excused Hicks and Sanders as defendants.

Wednesday’s ruling also addresses a suggestion made by a judge last summer that Trump instead “mute” his Twitter critics ― an option on Twitter that would allow the president to hide them from his feed but remain visible in theirs.

“Muting equally vindicates the President’s right to ignore certain speakers and to selectively amplify the voices of certain others but ― unlike blocking ― does so without restricting the right of the ignored to speak,” she wrote.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of seven Twitter users whom Trump blocked on the platform. Other well-known people blocked from his account include author Stephen King, actor Rosie O’Donnell and model and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen.

Buchwald ruled that unblocking the plaintiffs would be a “minimal” intrusion on executive prerogative, although she stopped short of ordering it outright.

“We must assume that the President and Scavino will remedy the blocking we have held to be unconstitutional,” she wrote.

Those blocked by the president celebrated the ruling on Twitter. 

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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