Judge: Trump Should Try Muting Critics On Twitter Instead Of Blocking
Mar 10 2018
Regardless of whether the judge ends up siding with the plaintiffs or the president, this isn't the first time an elected official has blocked users on Twitter. After all, it was a major news story when his account went down for 11 minutes.
In the question of whether Trump can legally block people from seeing and commenting on his account, a judge now has a possible solution. The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University filed the landmark case past year on behalf of blocked users, arguing he couldn't ban critics from an account used to make official statements.
Moreover, Baer noted that all but one of the plaintiffs has continued to engage the president's tweets despite being blocked by him. Katherine Fallow, a lawyer from the Knight Institute, said Trump's Twitter feed is an official government account operating as a public forum. "Don't we have a solution that serves the interests of (the parties)?" "Instead of blocking, he mutes them", she suggested - meaning Trump simply wouldn't see their responses.
Buchwald said Trump could simply elect not to see unwanted tweets by "muting" accounts.
Alex Edelman/dpa/picture-alliance/NewscomIn order to resolve an unusual First Amendment lawsuit over whether President Donald Trump can block people on Twitter, a federal judge has a suggestion: What if he just pretended to listen to them? And the defense has stressed the fact that everyone who is blocked by the president can still view his tweets by logging out of their accounts, and that they still have many other ways to petition the government.
Justice Department lawyer Michael Baer argued to Buchwald that by "blocking" people who attacked him, Trump was doing little more than exercising his right to communicate only with people he wanted.
"It's not a ideal solution, but certainly, it is a pretty good one", said Katherine Fallow, a Knight institute lawyer. But lawyers on both sides said they could consider that. "I don't think we can decide this case on real-world analogies alone", he said.
The former Central Intelligence Agency chief under President Obama went on to hit Trump for tweeting at actor Alec Baldwin over his "Saturday Night Live" impression of the president rather than responding to Putin, who announced the previous day the development of missiles he claimed would render defense systems "useless".
Judge Reice said she is "not suggesting every citizen has a right that their communication to the government will be read by someone, but a citizen has a right to send communication". The judge will issue a ruling if both parties can not agree to the compromise.