President Donald Trump’s Twitter fingers have been stubbed when a federal judge ruled on Wednesday (May 23), that he’s not permitted to block people from his Twitter account simply because they disagree with his political views.
According to ABC News, the question of who and when Trump can block people was first posed in July 2017 by The Knight First Amendment Institute. The entity filed a lawsuit against the president on behalf of seven people that Trump blocked from viewing his Twitter account. The Knight First Amendment Institute feels like this is an attack on freedom of speech as they were barred for expressing “messages critical of the President or his policies in reply to tweets from @realDonaldTrump.”
It’s a sentiment that U.S. District Court Judge, Naomi Reice Buchwald, agrees with as she ruled in favor of the Institute. The judge stated that just because a person expressed a difference in political view, a public official (like Trump) cannot block them as it hinders the First Amendment.
“No government official – including the President – is above the law,” Buchwald ruled. “And all government officials are presumed to follow the law as has been declared.”
This was a blow to Trump’s most proficient weapon. Since before taking office, he has been using his @realDonalTrump Twitter account to spread his message and often harshly criticize opponents. Limiting this power is something many deem as necessary but a constraint White House spokesperson Kerri Kupec has expressed his discomfort towards, stating, “We respectfully disagree with the court’s decision and are considering our next steps.”