Supreme Court dismisses case against Trump over blocking critics on Twitter

Ruben Hill
April 5, 2021

It that because the account was Trump's personal one and the plaintiff sued him in his capacity as president, he would "no longer be a party to this case" after President Joe Biden's inauguration.

Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute, which brought the case, said in a statement, "While we would have liked the Supreme Court to leave the Second Circuit's ruling on the books, we're gratified that the appeals court's reasoning has already been adopted by other courts, and we're confident it will continue to shape the way that public officials use social media".

The ruling won't matter much to Trump, however.

The Justice Department had asked the Supreme Court to declare the case moot.

In January, Twitter permanently suspended Trump's account, citing "the risk of further incitement of violence" after a mob of his supporters attacked the Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from formally recognizing Biden's election victory. But they see danger in the Georgia and NY investigations. But an opinion Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas issued is drawing significant attention. The case is also now moot because Trump has been banned from the platform for almost three months.

Supreme Court vacates ruling barring Trump from blocking Twitter critics, saying case is moot
Supreme Court dismisses case over Donald Trump and Twitter critics

Twitter suspended the account on January 8, two days after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in a failed bid to reverse his election defeat by stopping lawmakers from tallying electoral-college votes.

"The Second Circuit feared that then-President Trump cut off speech by using the features that Twitter made available to him", Thomas said.

A district court ruled in 2018 that Trump's Twitter account was a "public forum" and that his blocking of followers violated the First Amendment as it was based on opinion and viewpoint. The full nine-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit declined to rehear the case en banc - or as a whole circuit court - in March 2020. The Trump administration then petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari - petitioning the court to review the case - in August 2020. "We will soon have no choice but to address how our legal doctrines apply to highly concentrated, privately owned information infrastructure such as digital platforms".

"Respondents have a point, for example, that some aspects of Mr. Trump's account resemble a constitutionally protected public forum".

It seems odd, Thomas said, "to say that something is a government forum when a private company has unrestricted authority to do away with it".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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