Trump can't block critics on Twitter, reaffirms federal court

Washington, March 24 A federal appeals court has declined to review its earlier decision that President Donald Trump does not have the right to block critics on his Twitter account.

A majority of judges on the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals made the decision on Monday, reports CNN.

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The appellate court underlined that blocking people on Twitter violates the First Amendment because it excludes people from interacting with the President in a public forum.

"These tweets are published by a public official clothed with the authority of the state using social media as a tool of governance and as an official channel of communication on an interactive public platform," said Judge Barrington Parker.

"Excluding people from an otherwise public forum such as this by blocking those who express views critical of a public official is, we concluded, unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination," the judge added.

In July last year, the appeals court, which is based in New York City, upheld a lower court ruling in the case of Knight First Amendment Institute v. Trump that the President's Twitter account constituted a "public forum."

The Knight First Amendment Institute at New York's Columbia University filed a lawsuit in July 2017 against the President on behalf of seven
Twitter users, alleging that he did not have the right to block individuals who posted critical comments in response to his tweets.

Circuit Judge Parker said that Trump uses his account as an official mode of communication.

"Twitter is not just an official channel of communication for the President; it is his most important channel of communication," wrote Parker.

The US President's attorneys had argued that the Twitter account was personal and not an official government account.

The Department of Justice can still appeal to the Supreme Court.