Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

America 2018: Courts to decide if Donald Trump can block people on Twitter

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Donald Trump is being taken to court again. True, it might look like you accidentally clicked on an old story, given the President of the United States has been sued hundreds of times since he took office—134 in the first four months of his term alone—but this one involves Twitter. Yay?

You may recall the social media company released a statement last week explaining why it will never, ever ban the president from its service, no matter how many terms of service he violates in the form of hate speech, risking nuclear war, or (most egregious of all) failing to properly use the Oxford comma. The explanation was simple, regardless of how you view the logic of the claim: Anything he says is inherently newsworthy, and therefore people should not be prevented from seeing it. Indeed, it should be their right as citizens! Trump probably loved that explanation.


Well, his lawyers may love it a little less. See, back in the middle of 2017 some Twitter users who had been blocked by the president filed suit against him (and two other administration officials), claiming the digital platform is in essence a public forum for an elected official, and as a result they cannot legally be barred from seeing the contents of his feed. It may be a stomach-churning toxic waste dump of unhinged bravado and half-formed thoughts, the argument goes, but it’s a dump any American should have the right to view and get nauseated by without being denied access.

Cut to the present day, January, 2018: It turns out, not only do people have to file suit in order to prevent the president from blocking them from his social media feed, the courts are going to actually hear the case, weigh the arguments, and render a verdict, which technically makes them a little more responsible than Twitter, at least. The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, representing the plaintiffs, has gotten the go-ahead to begin arguments on March 8. The news was announced by Holly Figueroa O’Reilly, a musician and one of those being represented by Knight in the case, who published the letter confirming the case on—where else?—Twitter:

We eagerly look forward to Trump’s lawyers laying out the bold “I do what I want” defense.

Share This Story

About the author

Alex McLevy

Alex McLevy is a writer and editor at The A.V. Club, and would kindly appreciate additional videos of robots failing to accomplish basic tasks.