The Justice Department, on behalf of the Trump administration, asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to review a decision made by a lower court last year that said the president wasn’t allowed to block users from viewing his personal account.
Last July, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York ruled President Trump cannot block users from reading or replying to his tweets because he doesn’t like what they say. The First Amendment, the court ruled, prohibits the president from users because he uses his account to discuss government policy. By blocking users, the court said, the president was essentially shutting down their access to a public forum where they can talk about his decisions. The lawsuit was filed by the Knight Institute after the president blocked seven users who had criticized him in 2017.
Thursday’s petition, filed by Justice Department attorneys, disagreed that Trump’s account should be viewed as a public forum, saying his ability to block users stemmed from Twitter, not because he is president. The Justice Department also argued the lower court failed to recognize the president uses his personal account to talk about a wide range of topics, not just politics. By taking away his ability to block users, the courts have blurred the line between his role as a government official and his personal conduct.