Since Donald Trump became the U.S. president, there's been a flurry of debates around his usage of Twitter, a habit that's also most often parodied by late-night shows' political critics given that Trump can often be reckless when tweeting.
Among the biggest controversies surrounding Trump's Twitter activity is his tendency to block users with views that oppose his. Many have argued that Trump's feed should never be censored from anyone's view given that he's an elected official, and anything he posts, says, or shares belongs in the public space.
Trump Can't Block Twitter Users Anymore
It seems there's now also a legal basis that can support that argument. A federal judge has ruled that Trump must be prohibited from blocking users since it's a violation of the country's First Amendment. Twitter, according to the ruling, fosters an interactive space that qualifies as a public forum, and blocking users restricts their speech, and is therefore an unconstitutional act.
"That interactive space is susceptible to analysis under the Supreme Court's forum doctrines, and is properly characterized as a designated public forum."
The decision goes against the arguments made by Trump's team saying that removing the president's ability to block users violates his right to free 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 ruling begins. "The answer to both questions is no."
It's not just Trump, though — the decision applies to all public officials, stating that blocking users from their Twitter accounts counts as a constitutional violation.
First Amendment Case
The case in question refers to the one filed last year in the Southern District of New York — Columbia University's Knight First Amendment Institute filed on behalf of seven individuals who'd been blocked by Trump or someone from his team.
"The White House is transforming a public forum into an echo chamber," said attorney Kate Fallow around the time of the filing. "Its actions violate the rights of the people who've been blocked and the rights of those who haven't been blocked but who now participate in a forum that's being sanitized of dissent."
What do you think? Should Trump still be able to block users from his Twitter account? As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!