Trump's argued that the First Amendment's prohibition against government discrimination of free speech did not apply because his account was private. The appeals court did not agree.
A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that President Trump is not allowed to block people on Twitter over statements he does not like, affirming a lower court’s decision that declared the president’s account a “public forum.”
In a Tuesday decision, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals noted that because Trump uses Twitter to communicate with the public about his administration, and his account is open to the public for people to comment on his posts, it warrants constitutional free speech protection under the First Amendment.
“We do conclude,” the opinion said, “that the First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise‐open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees.”
According to court documents, Trump admitted that he blocked the plaintiffs in the case in 2017 after they posted tweets that “criticized him or his policies.” Once they were blocked, they were no longer able to view Trump’s tweets while logged in, and no longer had access to reply to tweets or view comment threads on Trump’s Twitter page.