Trump vs. Twitter: An Interesting Legal Theory

Anyone remember back in 2018 when Trump got sued for blocking critics on Twitter?

The judge’s ruling against Trump was based on a key point. I’ll let Judge Buchwald explain.

We hold that portions of the @realDonaldTrump account — the “interactive space” where Twitter users may directly engage with the content of the President’s tweets — are properly analyzed under the “public forum” doctrines set forth by the Supreme Court, that such space is a designated public forum, and that the blocking of the plaintiffs based on their political speech constitutes viewpoint discrimination that violates the First Amendment.

This ruling was specific to @realDonaldTrump account, not Twitter generally, contrary to several confused snooze reports on the case. But it means Trump’s account is something special, subject to rules that don’t necessarily apply to other accounts.

Lately, Twitter has been blocking views of some of Trump’s tweets, based on content: Trump’s political speech.

If Trump blocking folks “constitutes viewpoint discrimination that violates the First Amendment,” what about Twitter doing just that on that special “designated public forum”?

I’d tweet this at @realDonaldTrump, but Twitter is permanently blocking me because I won’t delete a tweet they won’t let anyone see anyway (a link to a We The People petition; go figure).

Any real attorneys reading this who’d like to weigh in?

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