There are plenty of things the sitting President cannot do that regular Americans can — everything from opening the windows of his house and copyrighting published works to being alone in public and riding in open convertibles. And that list just got one item longer, thanks to President Donald Trump, the Tweeter-in-chief who insists on blocking his haters, including Stephen King, Rosie O’Donnell, and Chrissy Teigen.
A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday, July 9 that the president can’t just block critics from his Twitter account.
The ruling from a three-judge panel came about two years after the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University sued Trump on behalf of seven Twitter users he blocked immediately after they criticized him. A little over a year ago, a lower court ruled that Trump blocking the users violates the First Amendment because the President uses Twitter as “an official, state‐run account” and that excluding people from an otherwise-open online dialogue because they disagree with an official’s position is ridiculous. The ruling was then taken up by a higher court, which ruled on Tuesday that the lower court was, indeed, correct.
On Tuesday, the judges ruled that by blocking people from reading his Tweets, he’s blocking them from receiving important messages from the leader of their country. They stated that the President uses the account as “one of the White House’s main vehicles for conducting official business,” including announcing nominations and proposing policies.
“The court concluded that, by blocking the Individual Plaintiffs because of their expressed political views, the government had engaged in viewpoint discrimination,” the ruling reads. “Finally, the court held that the blocking of the Individual Plaintiffs violated the Knight Institute’s right to read the replies of the Individual Plaintiffs which they cannot post because they are blocked.”
It remains to be seen whether Trump will unblock the users individually, or if Twitter will unblock them for him. MTV News has reached out to the platform for comment.