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Trump can't block users on Twitter, federal judge rules

NBC News logo NBC News 5/23/2018 Tom Winter and Elizabeth Chuck
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President Donald Trump cannot block Twitter users for the political views they have expressed, a federal judge in Manhattan ruled on Wednesday.

Blocking users from viewing his Twitter account — a feature offered by the social media platform — is unconstitutional and a violation of the First Amendment, Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald wrote in her ruling.

"While we must recognize, and are sensitive to, the President's personal First Amendment rights, he cannot exercise those rights in a way that infringes the corresponding First Amendment rights of those who have criticized him," Buchwald wrote.

The government had argued that blocked individuals could still access the president's tweets. The judge agreed, but she said the impact of preventing them from interacting directly with Trump's tweets represented a "real, albeit narrow, slice of speech."

The case had been brought by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.

They argued that the @realDonaldTrump Twitter account is a "public forum" under the First Amendment.

The institute represented seven individuals who had been blocked by account.

Image:President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he walks across the South Lawn while departing the White House in Washington on May 23, 2018. © Provided by NBCU News Group, a division of NBCUniversal Media LLC Image:President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he walks across the South Lawn while departing the White House in Washington on May 23, 2018.

There was no immediate response from the White House to the ruling.

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