Publication

Trump can no longer block users on Twitter as judge declares his feed a public forum

Martin Garbus Quoted in the New York Daily News

May 23, 2018 | By: Rich Schapiro

President Trump can't block Twitter users from viewing his prolific feed, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

Manhattan Federal Court Judge Naomi Buchwald ruled that Trump's Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, is a "designated public forum" and protected by the First Amendment.

But the judge stopped short of ordering Trump to unblock his critics, saying she did not want to "enter that legal thicket."

"A declaratory judgment should be sufficient, as no government official — including the President — is above the law, and all government officials are presumed to follow the law as has been declared," Buchwald wrote in the 75-page decision.

Trump, in a rare show of restraint, did not immediately tweet about the legal setback.

The first-of-its-kind suit, filed last July by a group of Trump critics blocked from reading his tweets, claimed that the President was violating the First Amendment by taking such action because they expressed views he didn't like.

"The @realDonaldTrump account is a kind of digital town hall in which the president and his aides use the tweet function to communicate news and information to the public, and members of the public use the reply function to respond to the president and his aides and exchange views with one another," the lawsuit said.

Lawyer Martin Garbus, a noted First Amendment expert, said Trump could ultimately find himself in contempt of court if he fails to abide by the judge's decision.

"What she tried to do is give him a nice out," said Garbus.

ABOUT MARTIN GARBUS

mgarbus@offitkurman.com | 347.589.8513

Martin Garbus has a diverse practice that consists of individuals and companies involved in politics, media, entertainment, and the arts. His courtroom skills have earned him a distinguished reputation as a trial lawyer.

Mr. Garbus is experienced in every aspect of litigation and trial, from jury selection to cross-examination to summation. He has argued cases throughout the country involving constitutional, criminal, copyright, and intellectual property law. He has appeared before the United States Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts throughout the United States. He has argued and written briefs that have been submitted to the United States Supreme Court; a number of which have resulted in changes in the law on a nationwide basis, including one described by Justice William Brennan as "probably the most important due process case in the Twentieth Century". An international observer in foreign elections, he was selected by Pres. Jimmy Carter to observe and report on the elections in Venezuela and Nicaragua. Garbus also participated in drafting several constitutions and foreign laws, including the Czechoslovak constitution

 

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