Trump challenges ruling barring him from blocking Twitter users

(Twitter)
(Twitter)

President Donald Trump is challenging a federal appeals court decision that ruled he violated the US Constitution by blocking people whose views he disliked from his Twitter account.

In court papers filed late on Friday by the US Justice Department, Trump sought a rehearing by the full 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, calling the 3-0 decision "fundamentally misconceived".

Trump has more than 63 million followers on Twitter, and often uses his account to make significant announcements, including on Friday when his tweets about trade with China sent US stock and oil prices down sharply.

The three-judge panel last month upheld a May 2018 lower court ruling that forced Trump to unblock several dozen followers.

Twitter Inc and the White House declined to comment.

In the appellate court ruling, Circuit Judge Barrington Parker wrote, "the First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilises a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise-open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees."

White House social media director Dan Scavino, who was also a defendant, is also challenging the appeals court ruling. 

190709160806818

The Justice Department court filing on Friday warned that if the appeals court ruling was upheld, "public officials who address matters relating to their public office on personal accounts will run the risk that every action taken on that account will be state action subject to constitutional scrutiny".

Parker, however, had said Trump's account bears "all the trappings of an official, state-run account" and is "one of the White House's main vehicles for conducting official business".

Trump has made his @RealDonaldTrump account, which he opened in 2009, a central and controversial part of his presidency, using it to promote his agenda and attack critics.

His blocking of critics was challenged by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, as well as seven Twitter users he had blocked.

The Justice Department filing noted that, since the ruling, two lawsuits were filed accusing Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of violating the First Amendment for blocking individuals on her personal Twitter account.

The Justice Department filing said the court's "mistaken First Amendment reasoning is being applied not just to any public official, but to the President of United States".

GET THE NEWS at your fingertips and download the News24 app for Android here now. Get it for your iPhone here.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When assisting your child with remote learning this year, did you:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Follow the school's comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) curriculum?
14% - 418 votes
Adjust the CSE curriculum to suit the family's morals?
24% - 723 votes
Ignore the schools CSE programme and do your own teaching?
63% - 1912 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.20
(-0.25)
ZAR/GBP
20.40
(-0.01)
ZAR/EUR
18.42
(-0.06)
ZAR/AUD
11.29
(-0.13)
ZAR/JPY
0.15
(+0.06)
Gold
1835.48
(-0.24)
Silver
24.14
(+0.55)
Platinum
1061.00
(+3.78)
Brent Crude
48.78
(+0.95)
Palladium
2336.01
(+1.71)
All Share
59419.37
(+0.80)
Top 40
54500.04
(+0.61)
Financial 15
11646.83
(+2.17)
Industrial 25
79758.36
(+0.10)
Resource 10
57015.33
(+0.70)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo