Court Rules Trump Violated 1A by Blocking People on Twitter


jkcerda

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Jun 10, 2013
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Criminal Mexi Midget
Same penalty likely by all his other Transgressions.

Nothing because Republicans will continue to defend this abhorrent behaviour as long as it's "their guy" and they continue "winning"

because "winning" means "**** the constitution" these days to many of them
honestly I did not think blocking people on twitter would amount to a violation of 1A.
that said I hope he quits twitter .
 

shyam09

macrumors 68020
Oct 31, 2010
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So does this only apply to Trump or does it apply to any public official?
“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.”
It looks like the rule has these elements:

1. Must be a public official
2. Uses a social media account
3. for all manner of official purposes
4. Has an open online dialogue (ie. others are allowed to participate)

If these four are met, they cannot ban a person for disagreeing views.

Example 1: Let's say AOC (easiest to type) communicates with the public on Twitter, but doesn't allow anyone to comment. Bob wants to file suit because his 1A is being violated.
-- Likely result: That's not a violation of the first amendment because element 4 isn't met.

Example 2: Let's say AOC uses her twitter to talk about her love of puppies. Bob is disgusted by AOC's policies, and want tweets about it. She bans him. Bob sues.
-- Likely result: That is not a violation because Element 3 isn't met. She can ban people because a Twitter account dedicated to expressing her love of puppies isn't in a manner of official purposes.

Example 3: Let's say AOC uses her Twitter to do both - puppies + communicating with the public on gov. related stuff. Bob says something mean, and AOC bans him. Bob sues.
-- Likely result: It's debatable because both puppies and official stuff are being discussed. I would argue towards stating the elements are met because AOC still uses her Twitter to communicate with the public on official stuff.
 
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Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
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It looks like the rule has these elements:

1. Must be a public official
2. Uses a social media account
3. for all manner of official purposes
4. Has an open online dialogue (ie. others are allowed to participate)

If these four are met, they cannot ban a person for disagreeing views.
So I wonder when someone is going to sue saying public officials shouldn’t be able to delete tweets? How does any of this get enforced?
 
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LordVic

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Sep 7, 2011
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honestly I did not think blocking people on twitter would amount to a violation of 1A.
that said I hope he quits twitter .
Honestly, I wouldn't have gone that far to a 1a violation either. does blocking someone on twitter block their ability to see your post? does it block someone from being able to comment on a subject or voice their opinion?

if Titwtter was owned by Trump and he was using it to silence others? Sure, 1a. But not sure how blocking followers on twitter is 1a.

still, Twitter needs to live up to their own rules and kick trump off for his numerous gross violation of their TOS
 

Eraserhead

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Nov 3, 2005
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Honestly, I wouldn't have gone that far to a 1a violation either. does blocking someone on twitter block their ability to see your post? does it block someone from being able to comment on a subject or voice their opinion?

if Titwtter was owned by Trump and he was using it to silence others? Sure, 1a. But not sure how blocking followers on twitter is 1a.

still, Twitter needs to live up to their own rules and kick trump off for his numerous gross violation of their TOS
I think people can still silence people. They just can’t block them. Seems fair.
 

LordVic

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Sep 7, 2011
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And yet we can still say the constitution governs conduct on it?
No.

The constitution does not govern the conduct of private enterprises and their users.

The constitution however does govern the government, AND by extension, the president of the united states.

So regardless of the platform itself, the POTUSA's activities must adhere to the 1a
 

Carnegie

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May 24, 2012
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So does this only apply to Trump or does it apply to any public official?
It applies to public officials acting in their official capacities. It doesn't, generally, apply to them acting as private citizens.

This decision represents a pretty straightforward application of existing First Amendment law. The only question was whether the account represents President Trump (with, perhaps, the help of others) acting as a government official or as a private citizen. For a number of reasons, and based on facts stipulated to by defendants, the answer to that question is pretty easy. For one thing, White House staff assist with the account. That, in and of itself, should settle the matter. If government employees help to operate the account, then it's being used in an official capacity - it represents government action. For another thing, defendants concede that the account is used to announce official decisions.

I'm sure some will try to argue that this decision is wrong or that it's a stretch. But it isn't. If the account is used by the President purely as a private citizen (for, e.g., political rhetoric), then he can't have government employees helping him with it. As it is, this account represents government action and the First Amendment applies. The government doesn't get to set up a public forum (even if it does so using resources of private parties, indeed even if it is does so on private property - e.g., in a building it rents from a private party) where people are allowed to express views and then discriminate based on the viewpoints expressed by respective speakers. That's Free Speech Rights 101 (okay, maybe Free Speech Rights 101-1/2).

Twitter could, of course, block the same users which the President (using this account) can't block - so long as Twitter was acting on its own and not at the behest of the government. Twitter is a private actor. But the President (and White House staff) can't block users based on their viewpoints, even if it does so using tools provided by Twitter.
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And yet we can still say the constitution governs conduct on it?
It doesn't, generally speaking, matter (for First Amendment purposes) where the conduct occurs. It matters who is engaging in the conduct. Private actors aren't subject to First Amendment constraints. The government is, and that includes government officials acting in official capacities - e.g., police officers, public school teachers and Presidents.
 

Herdfan

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Apr 11, 2011
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Same penalty likely by all his other Transgressions.

Nothing because Republicans will continue to defend this abhorrent behaviour as long as it's "their guy" and they continue "winning"

because "winning" means "**** the constitution" these days to many of them
Hey, any penalty he gets, AOC gets. You good with that?
 
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Herdfan

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Apr 11, 2011
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Sure, if OAC is using a government account to block people, than yes, Whatever punishment Trump gets for violating the 1a, so should she.
Woah there a minute. Trump isn't using a government account. He is using his personal account.

Not really sure what blocking accomplishes by either one of them. There are companies that aggregate all tweets so anyone blocked can still read them.
 
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Zenithal

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Sep 10, 2009
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Woah there a minute. Trump isn't using a government account. He is using his personal account.
White House is on record stating Trump's tweets are official tweets of the President. Blame Spicer. Big difference here is Congress hasn't stated outright that AOC's personal account is an official extension of Congress.

However, the appeals court's use of language has deemed it open season on AOC being sued for blocking, too. Except this isn't just about AOC. Any elected official can be sued now. It's a free for all.
 
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