The Supreme Court made a move on April 5 to dismiss a lawsuit from former President Donald Trump that asked the judges to enable him to block critics on Twitter. The United States' highest court agreed with the Department of Justice (DOJ), which announced in January that the case would become moot when President Joe Biden was sworn in office.
Supreme Court Dismisses Trump Lawsuit
According to the court, there was nothing left to the case after the former president was permanently suspended from the social media platform and ended his tenure in January. Twitter banned Trump two days following the fatal siege in the US Capitol courtesy of Trump supporters on January 6.
The SC vacated a decision from the 2nd United States Circuit Court of Appeals against Trump. They sent the case back to the lower court with orders to dismiss it as moot. The 2nd Circuit regarded Trump's decision to block seven users from engaging with his Twitter account as unconstitutional, as the space connected with the former president's account was a designed public forum, reported CBS News.
The Knight First Amendment Institute at the Columbia University sued Trump in 2017 on behalf of seven Twitter users following Trump's blocking of them for denouncing him on the microblogging site. The group contended the practice contravened the First Amendment. Lower courts agreed and ruled that a public official could not block people in response to the their expression of political views, reported CNET.
According to Twitter, its decision to permanently suspend Trump was "due to the risk of further incitement of violence." The court also formally dismissed an appeals court ruling that found that former president breached the First Amendment whenever he blocked a critic to silence their views, reported ABC News.
Trump had an estimated 89 million followers on Twitter before the social media platform suspended his account previously this 2021. However, Supreme Court signaled on Monday it is not interested in how he got along or did not with some of those followers.
The blocked Twitter users nonetheless asked the justices to leave the ruling in place from the US Court of Appeals in New York for the 2nd Circuit as a guidepost for future government officials. Without expounding, the court declined to do so.
The appeals court stated a social media account run by government officials could become a constitutionally protected "public forum" if used to carry out official business. According to the Supreme Court, the government could not discriminate in a public forum on the basis of a speaker's perspective.
The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2019 found it unconstitutional for Trump to prevent people from viewing an official social-media account used to declare government policies. The Justice Department, representing the former president, appealed.
The Trump Justice Department prompted the Supreme Court to overturn such rulings. While Trump's tweets were at times official statements, his decision to block individual responses was a personal one granted to any Twitter user, government attorneys argued.