We might be in the middle of a pandemic right now, but Donald Trump has got bigger fish to fry. Namely, asking the most senior court in the United States of America to overturn a ruling that prevents him from blocking people on his own Twitter account. Yup.
In 2018, a federal court ruled that it was unconstitutional (and therefore illegal) for the President to block people from seeing his tweets. The court designated his Twitter page a public forum, meaning that the act of blocking anyone who criticised him on it was akin to preventing freedom of speech, which violates the US' First Amendment.
Donald Trump, who has more than 85 million followers on Twitter, has famously made a habit of blocking people on the social media platform. One such person is Chrissy Teigen, who gloated about being blocked by the President "after 9 years of hating Donald J Trump," back in 2017. When she learned of the initial court judgment banning Trump from blocking anyone, she hilariously tweeted: "Well well well we meet again @realDonaldTrump."
But on Thursday this week, the President's administration filed an appeal to overturn the ruling, arguing that the @realdonaldtrump page is his own personal property. "President Trump's ability to use the features of his personal Twitter account, including the blocking function, are independent of his presidential office," the papers read.
It's not the first time Trump has argued his case on this issue - but to no avail. When the case was taken to the federal appeals court last year, they also ruled that because the President often uses the account to make major and official announcements, it was unlawful to block anyone from accessing this content.
The Knight First Amendment Institute, the body that first brought the case to court, said the Supreme Court should ignore the President's latest petition."This case stands for a principle that is fundamental to our democracy: government officials can't suppress speech simply because they disagree with its message," said executive director Jameel Jaffer.
So for the foreseeable, there'll be no blocking allowed on Twitter for President Trump. But come November, if the election doesn't go his way, the whole debate might become irrelevant anyway.
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