White House asks Supreme Court to let Donald Trump block critics on personal Twitter account

A decision about whether the Supreme Court will hear the case is not likely before the presidential election in November

The Associated Press August 21, 2020 08:58:28 IST
White House asks Supreme Court to let Donald Trump block critics on personal Twitter account

Washington: President Donald Trump is asking the Supreme Court to allow him to block critics from his personal Twitter account.

The administration said in a high-court filing Thursday that Trump's @realdonaldtrump account with more than 85 million followers is his personal property and blocking people from it is akin to elected officials who refuse to allow their opponents' yard signs on their front lawns.

“President Trump's ability to use the features of his personal Twitter account, including the blocking function, are independent of his presidential office,” acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall wrote in urging the justices to review the case.

The federal appeals court in New York ruled last year that Trump uses the account to make daily pronouncements and observations that are overwhelmingly official in nature.

It held that Trump violated the First Amendment whenever he blocked a critic to silence a viewpoint.

A decision about whether even to hear the case is not likely before the November election.

The case grew out of a challenge brought by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, which sued on behalf of seven individuals blocked by Trump after criticising his policies.

Jameel Jaffer, the Knight Institute's executive director, said the justices should decline to take up Trump's appeal.

“This case stands for a principle that is fundamental to our democracy and basically synonymous with the First Amendment: government officials can't exclude people from public forums simply because they disagree with their political views,” Jaffer said in a statement.

The administration argued in its appeal that the Supreme Court, not lower courts, “should decide where to draw the line between the president's personal decisions and official conduct.”

The pace of the case was slowed by the coronavirus pandemic as well as Trump's decision to ask the full 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals to review the ruling by a three-judge panel. The court refused to do so by a 7-2 vote in March.

Two Trump appointees, judges Michael H Park and Richard J Sullivan, were the only members of the court to side with the president.

The Supreme Court extended its deadline to file an appeal from 90 days to 150 days when it shut the building to the public and abandoned in-person meetings in favor of telephone conferences because of the virus outbreak.

Updated Date:

also read

After unrelenting summer, Joe Biden keen on getting agenda back on track
World

After unrelenting summer, Joe Biden keen on getting agenda back on track

While Biden may want to turn the page, though, aides are mindful that the crises are not done with him

Joe Biden dwells upon 'climate crisis' after twin fury of Hurricane Ida, wildfires in US
World

Joe Biden dwells upon 'climate crisis' after twin fury of Hurricane Ida, wildfires in US

Ida was the fifth-most powerful storm to strike the US when it hit Louisiana on Sunday with maximum winds of 150 mph or 240 kmph

Why US funding for Afghanistan and Pakistan will mean a security nightmare for India
India

Why US funding for Afghanistan and Pakistan will mean a security nightmare for India

Far from dissuading the terror twins, giving them more money will actually be tantamount to rewarding their rank bad behaviour