President Donald Trump had been sued by 7 Twitter users after he blocked them for criticizing him on the platform.
Trump’s Twitter is a particularly popular one, as the US president is known to go on regular tirades on the platform, most often about fake news.
The lawsuit was filed last July against Trump and two of his aides, White House social media director Dan Scavino and then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer. It argued that Trump’s account constituted a public forum under the First Amendment, and that the White House was violating the plaintiffs’ First Amendment right to petition their government for redress of grievances.
The government had argued that blocked individuals could still access the president’s tweets.
The judge agreed but said that even considering the president’s First Amendment rights, preventing users from interacting directly with him on Twitter represented a violation of a “real, albeit narrow, slice of speech.”
This block, they had argued, is unconstitutional and violates the first amendment.
United States federal judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, had ruled that Trump blocking these users for their political views was indeed unconstitutional as Twitter is a public forum.
The ruling read:
We hold that portions of the @realDonaldTrump account — the ‘interactive space’ where Twitter users may directly engage with the content of the President’s tweets — are properly analyzed under the ‘public forum’ doctrines set forth by the Supreme Court, that such space is a designated public forum, and that the blocking of the plaintiffs based on their political speech constitutes viewpoint discrimination that violates the First Amendment.
In so holding, we reject the defendants’ contentions that the First Amendment does not apply in this case and that the President’s personal First Amendment interests supersede those of plaintiffs.
Jameel Jaffer, the Knight Institute’s executive director said, We’re pleased with the court’s decision,”.”The president’s practice of blocking critics on Twitter is pernicious and unconstitutional, and we hope this ruling will bring it to an end.”