New York – Federal Court: Trump Can’t Ban Critics From Twitter Account

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    President Donald Trump talks about drug prices during a visit to the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)New York – President Donald Trump can’t ban critics from his Twitter account, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday, saying the First Amendment calls for more speech, rather than less, on matters of public concern.

    The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan upheld a lower court judge who said Trump violates the Constitution when he blocks critics.

    “The irony in all of this is that we write at a time in the history of this nation when the conduct of our government and its officials is subject to wide-open, robust debate,” Circuit Judge Barrington D. Parker wrote on behalf of a three-judge panel.

    The debate generates a “level of passion and intensity the likes of which have rarely been seen,” the court’s decision read.

    “This debate, as uncomfortable and as unpleasant as it frequently may be, is nonetheless a good thing,” the 2nd Circuit added. “In resolving this appeal, we remind the litigants and the public that if the First Amendment means anything, it means that the best response to disfavored speech on matters of public concern is more speech, not less.”

    The Justice Department did not immediately comment.

    The ruling came in a case brought by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. It had sued on behalf of seven individuals blocked by Trump after criticizing his policies.

    Jameel Jaffer, the institute’s director, said in an email that public officials’ social media accounts are now among the most significant forums for discussion of government policy.

    The ruling “will ensure that people aren’t excluded from these forums simply because of their viewpoints,” he said.

    Trump has over 60 million followers of his @realDonaldTrump Twitter account.

    During oral arguments earlier this year, attorney Jennifer Utrecht argued for the president, saying that the account was created long before Trump became president and that he was acting in a private capacity when he blocks individuals.

    Parker was critical during those arguments, foreshadowing Tuesday’s decision.

    “Are you seriously urging us to believe that the president is not acting in his official capacity when he is tweeting?” Parker said, noting that Trump subtracts from robust public discussion by blocking critics. “Why isn’t that just a quintessential First Amendment violation?”

    The appeals court ruled that the First Amendment does not permit a public official using a social media account for “all manner of official purposes” to exclude people from an otherwise open online dialogue because they disagree with the official.

    The ruling Tuesday upheld a decision last year by U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald.

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    8 COMMENTS

    1. The court system is a bunch of malarky aka garbage.. I know yoni aka phineas (or whatever his ten screen names are) believes the law is helig. Its what holds our democracy together. That’s BS. Its a blaoney. The law is way to go after your opponents.. its the way to nitpcik and find a gottcha moment. its the way overzealous prosecutors advance their career and get fame. And the court system is the same garbage. Every judge is out for themselves and their career. Its all politically motivated and has got nothing to do with the law. Whats worse anyone can bring a lawsuit wherever they want. So typically a liberal won’t file a lawsuit or injunction in Texas. they are allowed to do it in NY of SF basically you can pick and chose your judge.

      The whole system, is ludicrous and far from democratic. We need to put an end to these so called “judges” and their corruption.

      (yes the same is true for Epstien. Sure the man is a creep/pervert and I have no mercy on him even though he is a yid I think.. But lets face it he was only indicted because he supported Trump. otherwise his deal of ten years ago would have gone unnoticed. And thats a perversion of justice)

      • Archy, calm down and rake a forest for relaxation.
        If you haven’t read the decision and looked up the citations, who are you to comment on it? Note, that the decision was based on the view that Trump was tweeting in an official capacity. Educated Archy, who is a thankfully a private citizen not President, can block people from his Twitter. Not every judge is a beer drinking frat boy.
        Regardless of his friendship with Trump, the secret deal with Epstein made without advising the victims of his heinous crimes, raised the ire of even Trump followers. Archy, don’t you think that what was found in his safe and the likelihood that he has continued to engage in his passion justifies prosecution for the crimes committed in New York. If these victimizations of young girls occurred both Epstein and all others involved deserve severe punishment. Giving the girls a few dollars does not make it ok.
        A right thinking President would issue a strong statement saying that justice should be pursued wherever the evidence leads.

        • Hah yoni aka phineas that was a funny one . My fav line “Trump was tweeting as part of official business “

          Don’t you get Trump ? There is no ” official business “. You think he puts on a suit and ties and says let’s be formal and do official business.

          This is all baloney . It’s a trump platform . Spare me the law jargon. It’s a lot of nonsense . At most it’s one of these boring lawyerish technicalities that are gottcha stuff . Of course it’s all a game about going to the right judge and district . It’s all a lie

          Now re Epstein let me repeat I have no remorse for the man . And yes the creep deserves to rot . What they found in his mansion is extremely sickening. The question that I have for you is why did they decide to indict and search his mansion now ? Was there a new complaint ? Why pursue justice punkt now ? I’ll tell you why bec he supported trump and this is also a way to bring down that trump
          appointee from FL .
          So if it’s a way to go after trump only then pursue justice ? Don’t you get it ? It’s a game . It’s not fair justice or they would have fried him ten years ago . But now it’s about trump .

          How are you so naive that you really think oh it’s the law that anyone cares about ?

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