The Knight Institute v. Trump: How the First Amendment Applies to 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. In May, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York held that the president’s Twitter account constitutes a “public forum” under the First Amendment and that the president is therefore barred from blocking speakers from the account on the basis of viewpoint. Following the district court’s ruling, President Trump unblocked the plaintiffs, but also appealed the decision.

The case was argued on March 26, 2019, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.

From the courthouse steps, Jameel Jaffer, the Knight Institute’s executive director, and Katie Fallow, a senior attorney at the Knight Institute, describe how they think the case was received by the court.