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First Amendment Lawsuit Asserts Trump’s Twitter Blocking is Unconstitutional

by mjpospis on July 12, 2017

in Lawsuits

In a lawsuit filed yesterday (Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University v. Donald J. Trump, SDNY 17-cv-5205), plaintiffs seek to declare as unconstitutional – as violating the First Amendment – defendant Trump’s practice of “blocking” users from his Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump.

The complaint contains a single cause of action, which alleges:

79. Defendants’ blocking of the Individual Plaintiffs from the @realDonaldTrump account violates the First Amendment because it imposes a viewpoint-based restriction on the Individual Plaintiffs’ participation in a public forum.

80. Defendants’ blocking of the Individual Plaintiffs from the @realDonaldTrump account violates the First Amendment because it imposes a viewpoint-based restriction on the Individual Plaintiffs’ access to official statements the President otherwise makes available to the general public.

81. Defendants’ blocking of the Individual Plaintiffs from the @realDonaldTrump account violates the First Amendment because it imposes a viewpoint-based restriction on the Individual Plaintiffs’ ability to petition the government for redress of grievances.

82. Defendants’ blocking of the Individual Plaintiffs from the @realDonaldTrump account violates the First Amendment because it imposes a viewpoint-based restriction on the Knight Institute’s right to hear.

It asks the court to “[d]eclare Defendants’ viewpoint-based blocking of the Individual Plaintiffs from the @realDonaldTrump account to be unconstitutional” and “[e]nter an injunction requiring Defendants to unblock Individual Plaintiffs from the @realDonaldTrump account, and prohibiting Defendants from blocking the Individual Plaintiffs or others from the account on the basis of viewpoint”.

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