Home Liberal When Is a Politician a Politician on Social Media? (Slate)

When Is a Politician a Politician on Social Media? (Slate)


When Is a Politician a Politician on Social Media? – By Scott Nover (Slate) / Nov 1, 2023

The Supreme Court is considering whether public officials can block critical citizens on social networks—a callback to a Trump-era legal battle.

This is part of Opening Arguments, Slate’s coverage of the start of the latest Supreme Court term. We’re working to change the way the media covers the Supreme Court. Support our work when you join Slate Plus.

Donald Trump’s Twitter account was so pivotal to his presidency, he would often surprise White House staffers with a tweet that changed the news cycle—leaving them scrambling to pick up the pieces. Sure, this was the same account he’d used to rant about celebrity breakups and the New York Yankees before his run for office, and he continued to post about trivial matters as president. But he also used it to espouse his political priorities and boast of administration accomplishments. His account was arguably a more authoritative source of government information than his irregular press briefings.

So in 2017, the Knight First Amendment Institute sued him for allegedly violating the constitutional rights of his internet critics when he blocked them from his account.

Cutting off dissenting Americans from viewing Trump’s account and blocking them from commenting on his posts was a flagrant violation of their right to access publicly available government information, a First Amendment principle cemented by court precedent. This was the opinion of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed a lower court decision against Trump in 2020, saying Trump’s account constituted a “public forum” and that excluding critics was “unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.” Ultimately, in 2021, however, the Biden administration took over—so the Supreme Court vacated the decision and ordered the 2nd Circuit to dismiss the matter as moot.

CONTINUE >  https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2023/11/supreme-court-politicians-social-media-first-amendment.html


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