Knight Institute v. Trump — Lawsuit Challenging President Trump's Blocking of Critics on Twitter

The Knight First Amendment Institute filed suit in the Southern District of New York contending that President Trump and his communications team violated the First Amendment by blocking seven people from the @realDonaldTrump Twitter account because they criticized the president or his policies. The Knight Institute sent a letter to the White House on June 6, 2017 suggesting that it would file suit if the president and his aides did not unblock individuals who had been blocked because of their views. The White House did not respond to that letter.

The suit argues that the @realDonaldTrump account is a “public forum” under the First Amendment, meaning that the government cannot exclude people from it simply because of their views. It also argues that the White House is violating the seven individual plaintiffs’ First Amendment right to petition their government for redress of grievances. 

The lawsuit also argues that by altering the @realDonaldTrump public forum, it is violating the rights of people who have not been blocked — such as the Knight Institute, another plaintiff in the case — who must now participate in a forum that has been purged of many critical voices.