Speed Reads

commander-in-tweets

Is Trump violating the First Amendment by blocking people on Twitter?

The Knight First Amendment Institute has formally requested that President Trump unblock the Twitter accounts of people he has blacklisted for "[criticizing] or [disagreeing] with him" or else "face legal action to protect the First Amendment rights of the blocked individuals."

It isn't clear exactly how many people Trump has blocked on Twitter, but it's enough that there are entire articles about how to get Trump to do it and it's become something of a bragging point for some users. "New life goal: Try to get Trump to block me on Twitter," one ambitious user wrote.

But the Knight First Amendment Institute argues that Trump's account is a "designated public forum" and that the government cannot exclude "individuals from a designated public forum because of their views."

"Though the architects of the Constitution surely didn't contemplate presidential Twitter accounts, they understood that the president must not be allowed to banish views from public discourse simply because he finds them objectionable," said the Knight Institute's executive director, Jameel Jaffer. "Having opened this forum to all comers, the president can't exclude people from it merely because he dislikes what they're saying."