New White House Brief: Trump’s Twitter Account is Beyond Reach of Constitution

October 14, 2017

The White House filed its opening brief late last night in a lawsuit by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University challenging President Trump's practice of blocking Twitter users who have criticized him or his policies.  

Regarding the White House’s claim of presidential immunity, Jameel Jaffer, Knight Institute Executive Director, said:

“The White House's claim that the court lacks authority to enjoin the president is wrong, and if it were accepted its implications would be far-reaching and intolerable. The president isn't above the law. The government's claim to the contrary is based on an overbroad reading of cases that involved very different factual contexts as well as executive interests far more weighty than the ones at issue here.”

Regarding the White House’s First Amendment claims, Katie Fallow, Knight Institute Senior Staff Attorney, said:

"President Trump's Twitter account is a designated public forum under the First Amendment, and the president violates the Constitution when he blocks people from this forum simply because they've criticized him. Notably, the government doesn't contest that the president is blocking our clients because of their viewpoints. The government's contention that @realDonaldTrump is a personal account is not defensible given that the president routinely uses it for official purposes and both the president and his aides have publicly described the account as official."

Read the brief here.

About the Knight Institute

The Knight First Amendment Institute is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization established by Columbia University and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to defend the freedoms of speech and press in the digital age through strategic litigation, research, and public education.