President Trump’s Twitter account has gone beyond sparking headlines, and has now sparked a lawsuit.
Trump was hit with a lawsuit on Tuesday on behalf of a group of Twitter users who say they were blocked from his account.
The suit, filed in federal court in New York by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, also lists White House press secretary Sean Spicer and White House director of social media Daniel Scavino as defendants.
The suit contends that the Twitter account @realDonaldTrump “has become an important source of news and information about the government, and an important public forum for speech by, to, and about the President.”
It continues, “In an effort to suppress dissent in this forum, Defendants have excluded — ‘blocked’ — Twitter users who have criticized the President or his policies. This practice is unconstitutional, and this suit seeks to end it.”
The suit says that, because of how Trump and his aides use the Twitter account, it is “a public forum under the First Amendment. Defendants have made the account accessible to all, taking advantage of Twitter’s interactive platform to directly engage the President’s 33 million followers.”
However, the suit adds, Twitter users “from across the country” have been blocked from the account “because of opinions they expressed in replies to the President’s tweets. Because of their criticism of the President, these Plaintiffs have been prevented or impeded from viewing the President’s tweets, from replying to the tweets, from viewing the discussions associated with the tweets, and from participating in those discussions. Defendants’ actions violate the First Amendment rights of these individual Plaintiffs as well as those of other Twitter users.”
The suit is asking for a court declaration that “the viewpoint-based exclusion of the individual Plaintiffs violates the First Amendment,” and for an order restoring the defendants’ access to Trump’s Twitter account.