Judge rules president can't block critics on Twitter

<p>President Donald Trump violates the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment when he blocks critics on Twitter for political speech, a judge ruled Wednesday.&nbsp;</p>

News 12 Staff

May 23, 2018, 7:23 PM

Updated 2,187 days ago

Share:

Judge rules president can't block critics on Twitter
By LARRY NEUMEISTER
Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) - President Donald Trump violates the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment when he blocks critics on Twitter for political speech, a judge ruled Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan stopped short in her written decision of ordering Trump or a subordinate to stop the practice of blocking critics from viewing his Twitter account, saying it was enough to point out that it was unconstitutional to continue to do so.
"A declaratory judgment should be sufficient, as no government official - including the President - is above the law, and all government officials are presumed to follow the law as has been declared," Buchwald wrote.
The case was brought last July by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and seven individuals blocked by Trump after criticizing the Republican president.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a message. A government lawyer did not respond to an email request for comment.
Jameel Jaffer, the Knight Institute's executive director, said in a release that his organization was pleased.
"The president's practice of blocking critics on Twitter is pernicious and unconstitutional, and we hope this ruling will bring it to an end," he said.
The lawsuit was filed after Trump blocked some individuals from @realdonaldtrump, a 9-year-old Twitter account with over 50 million followers.
Justice Department lawyers had argued that it was Trump's prerogative, no different from the president deciding in a room filled with people not to listen to some.
Buchwald ruled that the tweets were made in a public forum.
"The President presents the @realDonaldTrump account as being a presidential account as opposed to a personal account and, more importantly, uses the account to take actions that can be taken only by the President as President," the judge said.
After a hearing this year, the judge had suggested that Trump mute rather than block some of his critics. At the time, a Justice Department attorney agreed that muting would enable Trump to avoid a tweet he doesn't want to read.
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


More from News 12
0:23
Police: Haddonfield man faces charges for arson, stalking and vandalism

Police: Haddonfield man faces charges for arson, stalking and vandalism

2:07
Mostly cloudy skies and dry conditions in New Jersey

Mostly cloudy skies and dry conditions in New Jersey

0:17
Authorities: George Washington Bridge climber in custody

Authorities: George Washington Bridge climber in custody

1:42
Jersey Creators Market event in Jersey City brings street designers from all over Garden State

Jersey Creators Market event in Jersey City brings street designers from all over Garden State

1:40
Red Bank's Broad Walk summer festival returns to downtown

Red Bank's Broad Walk summer festival returns to downtown

2:08
Residents get rid of junk during citywide ‘Love Newark, Keep It Clean’ campaign

Residents get rid of junk during citywide ‘Love Newark, Keep It Clean’ campaign

1:19
Bus catches fire on Garden State Parkway near Wall Township

Bus catches fire on Garden State Parkway near Wall Township

0:23
Prosecutor: Plainfield man sentenced to 5 years in prison for Bridgewater car crash

Prosecutor: Plainfield man sentenced to 5 years in prison for Bridgewater car crash

1:43
CDC urges people to get vaccinated amid resurgence of mpox

CDC urges people to get vaccinated amid resurgence of mpox

0:31
Police: Jersey City man arrested following pursuit spanning 2 counties

Police: Jersey City man arrested following pursuit spanning 2 counties

2:37
‘We’re asking to fight.’ Parents, students call on officials to save Wayne Catholic school from closing

‘We’re asking to fight.’ Parents, students call on officials to save Wayne Catholic school from closing

2:05
36th Annual Belmar Seafood Festival to take place this weekend at Silver Lake Park

36th Annual Belmar Seafood Festival to take place this weekend at Silver Lake Park

0:25
Prosecutor: Human remains found in 1 of 3 cars submerged in Cooper River in Pennsauken

Prosecutor: Human remains found in 1 of 3 cars submerged in Cooper River in Pennsauken

0:18
Newark police seek public’s help identifying package thief

Newark police seek public’s help identifying package thief

0:21
Officials: 3 people, including 2 officers, injured in car crash in Jersey City

Officials: 3 people, including 2 officers, injured in car crash in Jersey City

0:41
Jersey Proud: Rowan College students hold fashion show at Cherry Hill Mall with their designs

Jersey Proud: Rowan College students hold fashion show at Cherry Hill Mall with their designs

0:15
Police: Newton hospital temporarily put on lockdown amid reports of armed person

Police: Newton hospital temporarily put on lockdown amid reports of armed person

2:26
First full week of Sen. Menendez’s federal corruption trial comes to a close

First full week of Sen. Menendez’s federal corruption trial comes to a close

2:24
New Jersey man dubbed ‘most frequent flyer’ hits 24 million miles in the sky

New Jersey man dubbed ‘most frequent flyer’ hits 24 million miles in the sky

3:17
Peapack-Gladstone residents, business owners split on decision to euthanize geese in borough

Peapack-Gladstone residents, business owners split on decision to euthanize geese in borough