Trump set up his Twitter account in 2009, and in May and June 2017, while he was president, he blocked seven people who had expressed their displeasure with him.
Lawyers at Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute have filed a lawsuit on behalf of the individuals, arguing that Trump’s action violated their First Amendment rights.
In court documents, they said the President’s account @realDonaldTrump “functions as an official source of government news and information, and as a forum for speeches by, to and about the President.”
A district court said the then president’s action to block followers violated individuals’ First Amendment rights by excluding them from a public forum based on their views – a move that an appeals court later upheld.
Then-Solicitor General Jeff Wall asked the Supreme Court to take the case, arguing that Trump’s account is personal, even though it is sometimes headed by his aide Dan Scavino.
“By ignoring the critical distinction between the President’s (sometimes) official statements on Twitter and his always personal decision to block respondents from his own account,” Wall said, the lower court opinion “blurs the line between state action and private conduct – notwithstanding the repeated and recent exhortations of this Court to carefully heed this line in applying the First Amendment. “
This story has been updated with additional information.