Judge: Trump should mute rather than block critics on Twitter

Judge: Trump should mute rather than block critics on Twitter

Judge: Trump should mute rather than block critics on Twitter

Two of them, Rebecca Buckwalter and Philip Cohen, expressed skepticism regarding Buchwald's idea. "Why is that possibly OK?" The case was brought before Judge Buchwald by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, which is representing seven people who have been blocked - meaning they can not see his Twitter profile or his tweets - by Donald Trump. They claimed the president blocked them because they criticised him.

Fallow also rejected the notion that the @realdonaldtrump account is "purely personal".

To deny some Twitter users the ability to view and reply to these tweets is to deny their First Amendment right, the Knight Institute contends.

So if the president were to merely pretend that he was listening even though he wasn't, this could potentially satisfy both sides.

The seven plaintiffs, though, are among "a few hundred" blocked by Trump, according to Ujala Sehgal, communications director at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, which also joined the suit. Their lawyers claimed that Mr. Trump's Twitter feed is an official government account and that blocking users from following it was a violation of their First Amendment rights.

Katherine Fallow, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, told Buchwald the record "shows unambiguously that the president operates his account in an official capacity". As well as his seemingly ill-thought out ramblings causing delight, amazement, disbelief and horror in just about equal measure, it has been suggested that the president's decision to block people who criticize him is unconstitutional. The President would be able to say "no thank you" to a protester, for example, or decide to tune someone out in a conversation, he said. At one point, Baer offered his own analogy, saying that the president can choose to ignore protesters or even change locations at an event to make it more hard for the protester to reach him.

Baer acknowledged that Trump sometimes uses his Twitter account to announce policy, but said that blocking users was not an official action.

She quickly added: "I'm not remotely suggesting that citizens have the right to insist someone in the government read their mail". But Baer conceded, "We can certainly take that suggestion and go back and discuss it". Both sides, though, indicated initial enthusiasm for the suggestion that the president mute, not block, certain users.

Buchwald asked, "Why are we here?"

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