Courts Advance Ridiculous Legal Theory To Force Trump To Listen To Twitter Hecklers

The Federalist | 7/10/2019 | Kyle Sammin
TimHyuga (Posted by) Level 3
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Last year, a judge in the Southern District of New York ruled that, unlike every other person on earth, the president of the United States did not have the right to block people on Twitter. The decision in that case, Knight First Amendment Institute v. Trump, and its flawed First Amendment reasoning were upheld yesterday by a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit, and look destined to be appealed to the Supreme Court.

In making Twitter into a public forum, the court has scrambled the conventional wisdom on what private social media companies can do with their sites. In the name of sticking it to the president, they may also have paved the way for congressional regulation of the social media giants.

District - Court - Decision - Year - Article

I wrote about the district court decision last year. You can read the full article here, but the gist of the opinion is that Twitter is a public forum, despite being not owned by the public. The microblogging social media site, which retains the right to ban any user that it feels violates its nebulous terms of use, is for the purposes of this lawsuit no different than a federal office building or the side of a city bus.

The President’s Twitter Account Is Public Property?

Company - Venue - District - Court - Ownership

How do we get from a private company to a state-owned physical venue? The district court got there by squinting at the ownership of the president’s Twitter account. As I wrote in 2018:

There is a lot of weight resting on that word ‘or.’ Clearly, Twitter is not owned by the government. There is hardly even a decent argument to say that the @realDonaldTrump account is owned by the government, any more than the President’s clothes, books, or other personal property is. All presidents own things in their individual capacity, and that ownership does not pass to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Federalist
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