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President's Latest Move On Twitter Has Him In Big Trouble

President Donald Trump has said over and over that he loves being able to use Twitter as an official platform. He loves to make announcements on it, or to blast the press and the opposing party.

When Mr. Trump doesn't like what people have to say about him or his agenda, he'll usually block them. Some Twitter users are now suing him for trying to stifle their rights to free speech.

Seven Twitter users blocked by President Trump have filed a lawsuit that says they're suffering 'irreparable injury to their First Amendment rights'. The cause of their suffering is that the president has blocked them on his official Twitter account.

Trump blocked Rebecca Buckwalter-Poz (@rpbp), a political consultant and writer; Philip Cohen (@familyunequal), a university professor; Holly Figueroa (@AynRandPaulRyan), a political organizer; Eugene Gu (@eugenegu), a surgeon; Brandon Neely (@BrandonTXNeely), a police officer; Joseph Papp (@joepabike), an author; and Nicholas Pappas (@Pappiness), a comic/writer.

In addition to the seven individuals, the president has blocked The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, an organization that advocates for digital freedom.

"In an effort to suppress dissent in this forum, Defendants have excluded—'blocked'—Twitter users who have criticized the President or his policies," read the legal documents. "This practice is unconstitutional, and this suit seeks to end it."

Buckwalter-Poza complains, "Getting blocked has kept me from participating in public conversations in response to and about the president. I can't see or reply to Trump's account, or see which of his tweets others are quoting and commenting on from my own account.

In sum, I'm prevented from talking to those who are responding to his tweets, learning their views, and sharing my own views."

The U.S. Department of Justice has blown off the lawsuit as frivolous. "This lawsuit has no merit and we will be filing responsive documents shortly."

Normally, people on Twitter have always had the right to block whoever they wish, but in this case the situation is different. The president uses his Twitter account in an official government capacity.

If this is the forum he’s chosen to make announcement on government issues, does he really have the right to block citizens from reading and responding to those official announcements?

And if he’s not going to use his Twitter feed in any official capacity, then he really should be making his announcements somewhere more appropriate, such as WhiteHouse.gov, where people can see them.

"It's disempowering to be prohibited from speaking. And I'm troubled that the president can create a space on Twitter — where there are millions of people — that he can manipulate to give the impression that more people agree with him than actually do," writes Cohen.

The lawsuit reads, “Because of their criticism of the President, these Plaintiffs have been prevented or impeded from viewing the President's tweets, from replying to the tweets, from viewing the discussions associated with the tweets, and from participating in those discussions.”

It adds, “Plaintiffs respectfully ask that the Court declare that the viewpoint-based exclusion of the individual Plaintiffs violates the First Amendment, and order the Defendants to restore their access.”

Buckwalter-Poza explains, “Not once had I ever thought I might have to fear losing rights for expressing my political views in the U.S. Feeling silenced and marginalized at home has shaken me.”

Source: Daily Mail
Photos: YouTube, CBP, Twitter, Kremlin

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