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The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ unanimous decision Tuesday stems from a lawsuit filed by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University on behalf of seven people who Trump blocked on Twitter after they criticized his administration’s policies. The appeals court upheld a May 2018 ruling by a lower court judge who determined that the president’s action violated the First Amendment.
“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,” Circuit Judge Barrington Parker wrote.
The First Amendment is Applied Without Respect to Political Affiliation.
A former New York state assemblyman has since seized on the ruling against President Trump and leveraged it to sue Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for blocking him on Twitter.
The suit, filed in federal court in Brooklyn, states former Assemblyman Dov Hikind was blocked after being “critical” of Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter. It claims Ocasio-Cortez has blocked other users who have criticized her, including the student organization “Students for Trump” and Ryan Saavedra, a writer for conservative news outlet the Daily Wire.
WIBC host Tony Katz discussed the ruling on Wednesday afternoon.
“What if there is a difference between someone who disagrees with you and someone screaming, ‘I hope your kid dies.’ Is there a difference between the two and can you block one of them?
They may continue this down the line, and I’m assuming that they will. But I see it as two different things. To say that I’m not allowed on the platform is censorship, but to say I don’t want to hear somebody, that should be my right.
You can mute them, but you can’t block them, apparently. This will be very interesting to see how this plays out.”
Click the link below to hear Tony’s full commentary.