Trump Twitter free speech, which can still appeal to the Supreme Court


Trump Twitter free speech, which can still appeal to the Supreme Court.

An appeals court declined today to review its previous decision that President Donald Trump can’t block critics on Twitter, over the objections of two judges appointed by Trump.

A three-judge panel on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled in July that Trump’s practice of blocking critics from his @RealDonaldTrump account violates the First Amendment. The full court said today that it will not rehear the case, despite a request from the Justice Department.

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Circuit Judge Barrington Parker said in a statement accompanying the ruling that Trump uses his account as an official mode of communication. He likened the replies to a town hall meeting held by public officials.

“Twitter is not just an official channel of communication for the President; it is his most important channel of communication,” wrote Parker, who had been elevated to the 2nd Circuit by President George W. Bush.

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But two Trump appointees — Judges Michael H. Park and Richard J. Sullivan — dissented today, saying Trump has the right to control who can interact with his “personal” account.

“The First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech does not include a right to post on other people’s personal social media accounts, even if those other people happen to be public officials,” Park wrote in a dissent joined by Sullivan.

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DOJ can still appeal to the Supreme Court.

In a statement, the Knight First Amendment Institute, which filed the suit, said the decision was an important precedent that the First Amendment applies equally to new communication technologies.

“This case should send a clear message to other public officials tempted to block critics from social media accounts used for official purposes,” said Katie Fallow, an attorney at the institute.


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