The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to review a 2018 decision in which the Second Circuit Court of Appeals said it is a First Amendment violation for the president to block someone from his personal Twitter account.
While blocked users still have the ability to view a person’s tweets if they are not logged in, they cannot see the responses or participate in the conversation taking place in the response threads. The court understands that this is a public forum since President Trump uses the Twitter platform to discuss political issues.
In recent years, Twitter has become a space for immediate discussion and a highly effective means of communicating political events and positions on certain situations in the first person. President Trump was one of many politicians who have used the platform to its fullest, although its free use is increasingly limited.
Twitter has recently restricted or removed several of the president’s tweets, apparently due to misinformation or copyright violations. But interestingly, federal courts have ruled that the president cannot legally block any user who posts to his own personal @realDonaldTrump account.
Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Wall told judges in Thursday, aug. 20’s presentation that decisions to block a user on personal Twitter accounts are purely private and should not be subject to constitutional rules, according to Fox News.
“The outcome of the Supreme Court ruling should allow public officials, from the president of the United States to a village councilman, to be shielded from harassment, trolling, or hate speech without judicial oversight,” the Trump administration’s petition said.
“The court of appeals’s holding may have the unintended consequence of creating less speech if the social media pages of public officials are overrun with harassment, trolling, and hate speech, which officials will be powerless to filter,” Wall wrote.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, the government also argued that President Trump created his Twitter user in 2009 and will likely continue to use it when he leaves office, so beyond popularity it is still a personal account. Although his statements on Twitter often refer to government affairs, blocking a specific user is an independent and private decision.
Different is the case of the @POTUS and @WhiteHouse accounts he controls, these exist only to promote his official activities, and they will become a communication tool for his successor.