On Monday, the Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit over former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, after the Justice Department said: The end of Trump’s presidency had made the case a dead letter.
The issue arose after seven people responded critically to tweets posted through an account realDonaldTrump – Banned Now – responded by banning them.
People filed and won a lawsuit in lower courts, which held that banning people based on their views violated the First Amendment.
The Appeals Court for the Second Circuit said: The president’s account amounts to a kind of public forum and often concerns official matters with contributions from White House employees.
Trump’s Justice Department urged the Supreme Court to reverse those rulings.
While the president’s tweets were sometimes official statements, his decision to block individual responses was a personal one to allow any user on Twitter, government lawyers said.
The Justice Department asked the court to dismiss the case the night before President Biden was sworn in as futile and to overturn lower court rulings as well.
Katie Fallow of the Knight Institute, a group that advocates for First Amendment cases and represents Twitter users blocked by Trump, urged judges to leave lower court rulings intact.
“There is now widespread recognition that the principles we have laid down on this issue are important to protecting the vitality of public forums that are increasingly important to our democracy and shaping the way public officials use social media,” she said.
Judge (Clarence Thomas) Clarence Thomas said: he agrees to dismiss the case as useless, but it highlights a problem, which is that applying old principles across new digital platforms is rarely simple.
In January, Twitter suspended Trump’s account permanently, citing the risk of further incitement to violence after a mob of his supporters attacked the Capitol in an effort to prevent Congress from officially recognizing Biden’s election victory, killing five people.