Trump's Twitter Channel Is a Public Forum

In a victory for free speech, a federal appeals court upheld the decision that the president needs to unblock his critics on Twitter.

Caroline Harting
July 09, 2019

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled on Tuesday in Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia v. Trump that the president has been violating the Constitution by blocking people from following his Twitter account. 

"The First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes 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," the court said.

The judges concluded that Trump uses his personal Twitter account to conduct official business from diplomacy with North Korea to firing and hiring members of his cabinet. His account has become a "public forum." Suppressing people's opinions in this virtual public space is in violation of the First Amendment.

The seven plaintiffs ranged in backgrounds from a sociology professor to a writer to a police officer, who all replied critically to some of Trump's tweets. After this ruling, Trump, or any elected official, will not be allowed to block critics on social media channels used in an official manner.