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Is The President Infringing On Our Constitutional Rights? Maybe
A federal judge is skeptical of Donald Trump's wanton blocking of people on Twitter. Do we have a right to participate in a public forum?
President Trump’s antics on Twitter are well-known: he loves to tweet about North Korea, gotten into flame-wars with Jemele Hill, LaVar Ball and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and has inadvertently created memes like “FAKE NEWS!” and covfefe. But is there a limit to his Twitter behavior?
While Donald Trump was prolific on Twitter well before his presidential days, a New York federal judge is skeptical of his habit of blocking constituents: "Once it is a public forum, you can't shut somebody up because you don't like what they're saying.” Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute is representing seven plaintiffs blocked by Donald Trump on Twitter. Naomi Reice Buchwald, U.S. District Judge, recommended that President Trump “mute” rather than block his critics to resolve the lawsuit.
“Isn’t the answer he just mutes the person he finds personally offensive?” Buchwald asked, according to the AP. “He can avoid hearing them by muting them.” Buchwald encouraged them to settle, to not risk “law being made” in open court.
Is this the right way to go? Everyone blocks. But it’s certainly an interesting conundrum: does President Trump's massively popular Twitter translate to a "public forum" and are we entitled to be heard in that forum?
“The newest frontier in American jurisprudence is Trump’s Twitter feed,” wrote Cristian Farias. “We the taxpayers funded the government’s defense, in a federal courtroom in Manhattan, of Donald Trump’s unbridled use of his Twitter account.” The weirdest of times.
(Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)