[COMMENTARY] Trump Asks SCOTUS To Let Him Block His Critics On Twitter
Donald Trump just loves to play fast and loose with the Constitution, cherry-picking the parts he likes and pretending the rest of it doesn’t exist. He certainly has spent a lifetime treating our legal system the same way. Now the two worlds collide with the news that Trump wants the Supreme Court to reverse a previous decision and allow him to once again block anyone he wants from his personal account on Twitter.
Full disclosure: I was blocked by Trump five years ago this month, but when the initial lawsuits were brought by Knight Columbia to unblock Twitter users, I wasn’t included. My blocking pre-dated the inauguration, so at that time, it was ruled that he blocked me as a ‘private citizen’. But once the White House deemed tweets from his personal account “official Presidential communications”, Knight Columbia decided to petition Trump to unblock any remaining accounts that were still blocked, as our First Amendment rights were being violated.
Knight Columbia petitioned the Department of Justice and presented them with a list of still-blocked Twitter usernames that included Rosie O’Donnell, Danny Zuker, Parker Molloy, and a few other high-profile accounts.
Trump unblocked a few of the names on that list, but those people I linked above are still blocked, as am I. At that time, I wasn’t a Verified user, and only had around 8900 followers. But I had gotten under that thin skin enough that he saw my name and refused to unblock me. It’s an exclusive club that I’m honored to have helped create. Some of us have even gone on to achieve what I like to call the “Blocked By Trump Quadfecta”, because his three main adult kids are just as thin-skinned as he is.
Personally, I couldn’t care less if he never unblocks me. My stress level is high enough thanks to him. It’s mostly a relief that I can’t read his tweets on the regular. I sleep better at night not having read them. Sometimes I ask friends to screenshot his tweets so I can at least understand what people are talking about. But mostly it helps me direct my energy where it can do the most good, because if I’m going to yell into the void that is Twitter, I want to direct it towards the people who can see it.
A federal appeals court ruled last year that the president used his account as “an official channel of communication.” On that basis, the unanimous three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Trump has effectively created a public forum, and was forbidden from blocking users based on their political views. The full appeals court declined to revisit that decision in March.
Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall told the court that the appeals panel inappropriately failed to distinguish the president’s official communications on Twitter from the personal nature of his decision to block users he disagreed with. “President Trump’s ability to use the features of his personal Twitter account, including the blocking function, is independent of his presidential office,” Wall wrote. “Blocking third-party accounts from interacting with the @realDonaldTrump account is a purely personal action that does not involve any ‘right or privilege created by the State.’”
Translation: He can dish it out, but he can’t take it. Just like the elementary school playground bully he’s always been.
He also can’t get his case before SCOTUS until June 2021, which is long after he’ll hopefully be gone from our White House and so busy with other prosecutions that he’ll forget about blocking anyone. Maybe he’ll even forget about Twitter altogether.
Hey, a girl can hope.