Federal Court: No, Donald, You Can’t Block Critics On Twitter

This just hasn’t been a good year for the Don, especially where federal courts are concerned. First, his Muslim Travel ban flopped, and now, according to U.S. District Judge James C. Cache, Donald Trump — and other public officials — cannot block critical users on social media. It’s engaging in “viewpoint discrimination.”

The case in question didn’t concern the Teflon Don, not directly, and Trump is far from the only public official who engages in this behavior. The case was filed by Brian Davidson against the Loundon County Board of Supervisors after one of the supervisors, who managed a Facebook page as a public forum for the citizens of Loundon County, deleted one of Davidson’s posts. Davidson’s post was critical of the corruption he saw on the school board.

Related: ‘Support The Troops?’ I Don’t Think So — The Possible Reasons Behind Trump’s Transgender Ban

The official even admitted she deleted it because it was critical of her and others in the county government.

In the words of the judge himself:

Defendant’s offense at Plaintiff’s views was therefore an illegitimate basis for her actions—particularly given that Plaintiff earned Defendant’s ire by criticizing the County government. Indeed, the suppression of critical commentary regarding elected officials is the quintessential form of viewpoint discrimination against which the First Amendment guards. By prohibiting Plaintiff from participating in her online forum because she took offense at his claim that her colleagues in the County government had acted unethically, Defendant committed a cardinal sin under the First Amendment.

The relevance to Trump is obvious though, and the Knight First Amendment Institute has taken up the task of suing the Donald over his “viewpoint discrimination” on social media.

Related: Trump Worried White House Won’t Have Enough Ink To Fill Out Pardons For Himself

Of course, there’s the lingering question of whether Trump’s personal Twitter account can be legally treated as a public forum — but given his recent tweet banning transgender individuals from military service, it’d appear as if this were the case. There’s a strong legal argument, in any situation.

Which, of course, would mean that it’d be almost impossible for Trump to get away from critics. Maybe then he’ll finally get off Twitter and stop making an ass of himself — although he probably won’t.

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