It took more than 280 characters, but a federal judge in Manhattan ruled Wednesday that President Trump and his aides can not block critics from seeing his Twitter account simply because they had posted caustic replies to his tweets in the past.
A federal judge in NY ruled Wednesday that President Trump is in violation of the Constitution when he blocks users on Twitter.
"We're pleased with the court's decision, which reflects a careful application of core First Amendment principles to government censorship on a new communications platform", said Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight Institute.
"The judge is taking a social media account launched well before Donald Trump was a public official and declaring it to be a public forum".
"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", Buchwald ruled.
"It establishes that social media accounts operated by a government official-even the president of the United States-constitutes a public forum".
"N$3 o government official - including the President - is above the law", she wrote, "and all government officials are presumed to follow the law as has been declared".
In what might just be one of the more freakish tech stories of the week, the judge's decision is the result of a case brought against the President by a group of Twitter users he'd blocked.
Buchwald stopped short of accepting the request for an injunction against Trump and his social media aide, Dan Scavino, who was also named in the complaint, saying she expected the White House to abide by her "declaratory" ruling.
"If Donald Trump is giving a speech to 100 hand-picked people, and one of them heckles him, he gets to throw that person out", said Benjamin, adding that he thought the president had a strong chance of winning an appeal of Buchwald's decision. But, as President, Trump frequently uses it to make official announcements.
Mr Trump has also not yet spoken (or tweeted) about Judge Buchwald's decision. "Under Buchwald's ruling, Twitter remains free to block users from its platform, on its own terms, without running afoul of the First Amendment".
President Trump and the other defendants conceded they did so because they disliked the viewpoints the plaintiffs expressed in their tweets. But he can't prevent his critics from participating in a public forum, which is what his Twitter feed has become.
The bigger impact here, however, is that this ruling applies to all public officials in the US. Trump had argued that a court doesn't have the power to issue a direct order to a sitting president. Like so many bullies, Trump has exceedingly thin skin and has a habit of blocking people who mock or disagree with him. The Knight Institute also sued a local Virginia government after representative Phyllis Randall blocked a consistent, Brian Davison, on Facebook.