Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald is a United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York. She has demanded the White House make an official statement about whether Donald Trump’s Twitter account is subject to the First Amendment. This isn’t because Twitter is a public forum – this is based on Trump, as the President, blocking other users for disagreeing with his tweets.
The demand stems from a lawsuit filed by civil liberties attorneys on behalf of several Twitter users blocked by Trump. The plaintiffs allege that the block is unconstitutional – that blocking doesn’t allow them to express themselves freely. However, just muting the users would still allow them to reply to the official Twitter account.
If the White House declares that Donny’s precioussss Twitter (please picture Gollum from Lord of the Rings) is subject to the First Amendment, he could be found in violation of the Constitution. Yet, according to Trump, no one loves the First Amendment more than him.
Andrew Kim, another high-profile attorney, shared the docket text on HIS personal Twitter account:
This is, uh, quite the minute order (from the Trump 1A Twitter case): pic.twitter.com/OBk8mnl9bS
— Andrew Kim (@akhoya87) March 13, 2018
The text is small, but reads in part:
At oral argument, the government stated that the blocking of Twitter users on the @POTUS and @WhiteHouse accounts would [sic] ‘likely would run afoul of the First Amendment but not because of public forum doctrine’ and that ‘it is probably true that government cannot block individuals purely on the basis of viewpoint from a government account like the @POTUS account.’… If the government continues to take the position that users may not be blocked from the @POTUS and @WhiteHouse accounts, it should explain all of the ways in which the First Amendment analysis differs for those two accounts on the one hand and the @RealDonaldTrump account on the other.
To break it down, the government cannot block its people from speaking freely.
The White House has the deadline of March 28 to respond, and the response cannot be more than five pages long. We will be eager to see if the attack on Trump’s Twitter will cause him to rage tweet as normal or if he’ll rein in the anger.