Circuit Court Affirms that Trump Cannot Block People from his Twitter Account

On July 9th, 2019, the U.S Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the judgement of  the District Court for the Southern District of New York in ruling that the president cannot block people from his @realDonaldTrump Twitter account. The ruling followed a 2017 lawsuit by the Knight First Amendment Institute against the president, where they alleged that the First Amendment was violated when several plaintiffs were blocked from viewing or responding to @realDonaldTrump’s tweets.

In July of 2017, seven plaintiffs along with the Knight Institute sued President Donald Trump, White House Director of Social Media Daniel Scavino, and two other White House Staff members for blocking their access to what they believed to be a “public forum”.

2018: The Constitution, Federal Courts, and President Trump

2018 continued to be a tumultuous and troubling year for Americans who believe that our Constitution protects us from violations of free speech, free press, due process, equal protection under the law, and the arbitrary power of government to usurp the rule of law. In 2018, the federal courts demonstrated again that they serve as the safety valve, checking abuses of power by the executive branch of government, including notably President Donald Trump and his administration.

More than one thousand Americans from forty different states have joined together in declaring independence from the policies and practices of President Trump. They anticipated that President Trump and his administration would violate basic American values and are documenting the major federal lawsuits challenging the President and his administration.

Free Press: Revocation of Press Credentials for Jim Acosta

On November 13, 2018, Cable News Network (CNN) and Abilio James Acosta sued President Donald Trump, John Kelly, William Shine, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and the United States Secret Service, alleging that the above listed defendants revoked Mr. Acosta’s White House credentials in violation of the 1st Amendment and the due process clause of the 5th Amendment. On the same day, CNN and Mr. Acosta also filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction requiring the above listed defendants to restore Mr. Acosta’s credentials.

First Amendment: PEN Center v. Trump

On October 16, 2018, PEN American Center, Inc. filed a complaint at the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, against Donald Trump in his official capacity as President of the United States. PEN America is an association of writers and other literary and media professionals, including journalists who “work for, or with, the Washington Post, Time Warner, CNN, NBC, the White House press corps, and other entities against whom Trump has used, or threatened to use, the machinery of government to retaliate for or suppress their critical speech.”

In the Complaint, PEN America alleges that Donald Trump “directed his threats and retaliatory actions at specific outlets whose content and viewpoints he views as hostile.” (Compl. para 2.) PEN America argues that “President Trump has First Amendment rights and is free to criticize the press vehemently, but he is not free to use the power and authority of the United States government to punish and stifle it.”