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Blocked Trump Twitter followers claim First Amendment violation

Blocked Trump Twitter followers claim First Amendment violation”

According to the Knight First Amendment Institute at New York's Columbia University, blocking users violates the First Amendment's freedom of speech clause.

The other was Joseph M. Papp (@joepabike), who replied to a Trump weekly video address June 3 by writing "Greetings from Pittsburgh, Sir" and "Why didn't you attend your #PittsburghNotParis rally in DC, Sir?" The accounts are unable to see or respond to tweets from the personal account of the US President after the block.

The Institute argues that with so many United States officials using the platform - including all 50 governors, 100 senators, and every House member - if used for communication relating to democracy or running the country, Twitter should be considered a valid public forum in which the general public's rights are protected.

The White House announcing Tuesday that Trump's tweets are "official statements" also helps the argument, he said.

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The Knight First Amendment Institute is arguing the "public forum doctrine" under the First Amendment, a longstanding, very traditional legal principle. Under that arrangement, it would be unconstitutional for the president to block anyone from seeing or engaging with his @realDonaldTrump Twitter account. He rebuked them for not pursuing his original executive order banning Muslims from certain countries from entering the US and instead throwing their legal weight behind a "watered down" version. Other members of the administration, though, had previously indicated the president's Twitter posts were not official White House remarks.

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Still, the letter wasn't all criticisms: The Knight Institute praised the president for his use of the social medium to communicate with the public. President Trump, who has many critics (and admirers) on Twitter, does, too. While Twitter may be a private platform, Trump is using it in his official capacity.

People who get banned for hate speech or harassment often complain about their "free speech" rights, but that only means the government can't stop you from doing something.

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"This is a context in which the Constitution precludes the President from making up his own rules", Jaffer said. "That is the forum that is created by each of the tweets about his policies".

Trump's Twitter use has drawn intense media attention for his unvarnished commentary about his agenda and attacks on critics.

Morgan Weiland, an affiliate scholar with Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society, says the blocked tweeters' complaint could air key questions if it ends up in court. While a plurality of Republicans (36 percent) and Trump voters (41 percent) said Trump's tweets were a good thing, the share of those voters who said the opposite also grew.

On the broader question of whether his tweets are hurting his presidency, 57 percent of voters said yes.

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Hammond told the Post that "U.S. and Russian Federation have reached no agreements", but Moscow is talking like it's a done deal. In the same statement , he declared 35 Russian intelligence agents "persona non grata", forcing them to leave the U.S.



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