Earlier this week, a federal judge ruled that Donald Trump, who is defined by his Twitter feed as much as anything else, may not block people on Twitter. Remember this is not the official POTUS Twitter feed, this is his own personal Twitter account. Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald ruled that when the President blocked 7 plaintiffs from viewing or replying to his Twitter posts – that the President violated their 1st Amendment right to free speech.
First off, this is a bizarre ruling – because the President is not saying nor is the government saying that these people can’t express their opinions. All the President was doing was to say that he did not want to interact with someone/s who he felt may have been trolling him. Pretty much all of the President’s tweets are made public for viewing – and any person is allowed to comment on them on any forum they choose. No one’s speech has been violated. To the contrary – there is nothing in the 1st Amendment which says that I or anyone else has to listen to what some online troll says. However that is what Judge Buchwald seems to think the 1st Amendment means.
Again we are not talking about an official government Twitter account, we are talking about a man’s personal account. Yes he does announce some government business on Twitter. But it is an account owned and granted to President Trump by Twitter for his own personal use. Not an official government account. If this were an official government account, then yes that government account should not be allowed to block people – because that is theoretically stopping people from hearing government business.
Let’s take this to a logical conclusion. Entertainer Katy Perry, who has one of the most popular twitter accounts, is being trolled by some lunatic who is either jealous because he can’t get a date, or is upset because her twitter feed is more popular than hers – or maybe is just a psychopath. According to this ruling – any stalker can say anything to Katy Perry that he or she chooses, and she has to take it. This is incredibly dangerous – as this judge has completely and totally redefined the 1st amendment to say that not only does a jerk have the right to say something – but that we are required to listen to what that jerk or sociopath has to say.
Every elected official has certain responsibilities to their constituents. And most every government agency or elected body has a social media outlet where the government agency or politician/political body can spread information to the populace. And everyone can agree that the government/political body can and must allow for any constituent to be able to sound off – no matter how obnoxious that constituent may be. But to require anyone to not be allowed to block others is beyond bizarre. This is government overreach of the highest order – and a complete redefinition of the 1st Amendment. And something which should scare every lover of liberty.