The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University in New York wrote to Donald Trump demanding he unblock a number of users, because when the President blocks a citizen of the United States it's a violation of the Constitution's First Amendment protecting freedom of speech.
The (@realDonaldTrump) account (Trump actually has a few of them) recently blocked a bunch of accounts that replied to his crazy-ass tweets with something other than praise.
The Donald's cracked-out tweets mostly come from the aforementioned personal account, but he also tweets from the official @POTUS Twitter account. The Knight Institute says its arguments apply with "equal force" to both of Trump's accounts.
The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University in New York said in its letter that the blocking suppressed speech in a public forum protected by the Constitution.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment. Twitter Inc said it had no comment.
Alex Abdo, the institute's senior staff attorney, likened Twitter to a modern form of town hall meeting or public comment periods for government agency proposals, both venues where U.S. law requires even-handed treatment of speech.
Eric Goldman, a Santa Clara University law professor who focuses on internet law, said that previous cases involving politicians blocking users on Facebook (FB.O) supported the Knight Institute's position.
If the institute should sue, Trump could claim his @realDonaldTrump account is for personal use and separate from his official duties as president, Goldman said. But he called that defense "laughable."
Not sure what the legal precedent is on this, but it certainly feels right. Might be a good idea for all who hold public office in our government to be held to the same standard, for the same reasons.