Lawyers at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University have filed a complaint in a US district court in NY against the president, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, and White House social media director Daniel Scavino, arguing that such blocking constitutes a violation of the First Amendment.
While it seems clear that Trump uses Twitter as an official platform - the White House has confirmed his Tweets are official statements and is preserving them - the lawsuit could come down to whether the microblogging site counts as a public forum.
Neil Richards, a professor at Washington University's Law school, specializing in First Amendment theory, told Wired news website that determining whether the president's Twitter feed represents a public forum is complicated. In addition to Mr. Trump, it refers to the spokesperson of the White House Sean Spicer and Daniel Scavino, in charge of social networks to the president.
Majority verified on Twitter, they are outspoken about their views about the 45th president of the United States. He said having his First Amendment right to free expression cut short in such a personal way "stung" him, as he is now excluded from what he believes to be the "most effective form of political speech" he has ever had.
President Donald Trump's habit of blocking critics from following his Twitter account faces a legal challenge that seeks to prevent him from tuning out those with opposing views.
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The Knight First Amendment Institute, a nonprofit at Columbia University, is asking that Trump's blocking of the plaintiffs be declared unconstitutional; that the plaintiffs' access to the president's tweets be restored and that they not be blocked in the future because of their viewpoints; and that their legal fees be paid. In an effort to suppress dissent in this forum, Defendants have excluded-"blocked"-Twitter users who have criticized the President or his policies".
"It [blocking] imposes an unconstitutional restriction on their participation in a designated public forum", the lawsuit claims. The Knight Institute has argued that Trump has made it an "official account" by making government announcements with it, such as his choice of Christopher Wray to lead the Federal Bureau of Investigation. While it may be tempting to conflate Twitter with a public forum such as a town hall or a public street due to its ease for public access, it is a private company and as such has the freedom to create its own rules.
"The FAKE MSM is working so hard trying to get me not to use Social Media". This isn't to say the government can't exclude speech that has nothing to do with the forum's goal.