Appeals court rules Trump can't block people on Twitter

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled that President TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers release defense bill with parental leave-for-Space-Force deal House Democrats expected to unveil articles of impeachment Tuesday Houston police chief excoriates McConnell, Cornyn and Cruz on gun violence MORE cannot block Twitter users from his official account, finding that the practice is discriminatory.

The ruling upholds a lower court ruling that also found Trump cannot block the Twitter users.

The president uses his Twitter account to make announcements, from personnel changes within his administration to the implementation of new policies.

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The judges wrote "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."

The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University had brought forward the lawsuit on behalf of seven people who had been blocked by Trump on Twitter.

The judges wrote in the opinion that Trump’s Twitter account shows “all the trappings of an official, state‐run account,” and that Trump and his aides have described his tweets as “official statements.”

And they noted that the National Archives, “the agency of government responsible for maintaining the government’s records, has concluded that the President’s tweets are official records.”

The judges sided with the blocked Twitter users, who argued that the other options for viewing Trump’s tweets are too burdensome. And they noted that the individuals were blocked after they posted tweets critical of the president.

“We conclude that the evidence of the official nature of the Account is overwhelming,” the opinion reads. “We also conclude that once the President has chosen a platform and opened up its interactive space to millions of users and participants, he may not selectively exclude those whose views he disagrees with.”

However, the judges were clear that their ruling did not require social media companies to take on any further policies, or that the Constitution does not allow for other Twitter users to block each other.

The administration had argued that Trump was blocking the users in his personal capacity, but the judges disagreed. 

“The fact that any Twitter user can block another account does not mean that the President somehow becomes a private person when he does so,” they wrote.

Updated at 10:30 a.m. 

Read appeals court's ruling by kballuck1 on Scribd