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Donald Trump Is Appealing A Court Ruling That Says He Can't Block People On Twitter

Because this is 2018.

Last updated on June 5, 2018, at 11:43 a.m. ET

Posted on June 4, 2018, at 10:32 p.m. ET

Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images

President Donald Trump is appealing a federal judge's recent ruling stating that he cannot block people on his personal Twitter account.

In a notice filed Monday by the Department of Justice, the administration pushed back on the court's decision last month ruling that the president's personal account, @realDonaldTrump, is a "public forum" and under partial governmental control and therefore cannot block other users because of their political views.

On May 23, the federal judge sided with Columbia University's Knight First Amendment Institute and several Twitter users who had been blocked by Trump's Twitter account after expressing views critical of the president. Although the account is Trump's personal handle, the president often uses it to announce policy decisions and official statements, and the judge ruled that blocking certain people from accessing that material because they disagreed with the president amounted to "viewpoint discrimination," and as such was a violation of the First Amendment.

Although the president is now officially fighting this decision, he still has to abide by the judge's ruling and unblock the seven plaintiffs in the case, allowing them to view his tweets.

"We’re pleased that the White House unblocked our clients from the president’s Twitter account but disappointed that the government intends to appeal the district court’s thoughtful and well-supported ruling," Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight Institute, said in a statement. "We look forward to defending the ruling in the Second Circuit."

On Monday night, the seven plaintiffs in the lawsuit shared that they were back in Trump's Twitter fold.

Two days shy of the one year anniversary of my blocking, @realDonaldTrump has unblocked me. Theory: He just didn’t want to give me the paper anniversary gift. https://t.co/jYZVKblFBX

It's very late, but I just found out @realDonaldTrump has unblocked me. Just me. And the others involved in the lawsuit. At this time, hundreds are still blocked and having their First Amendment rights infringed upon. Until they are unblocked, I'll do my best for all of you.


Trump finally obeys court order and unblocks me on @Twitter #BlockedByTrump

That feeling when you've bent @realDonaldTrump to your will... ✌


I sued Trump and won. Thanks to the hard work of my co-plaintiffs, Katie Fallow and our legal team, and the Knight First Amendment Institute, the President of the United States just unblocked me on Twitter. Not even Trump can infringe upon our First Amendment rights. https://t.co/8Gf7vM59l8

We whined. We complained. We sued. We won our First Amendment lawsuit in federal court. And now @realDonaldTrump has unblocked me. Wow! https://t.co/eseRSJG5ah


However, other accounts, including @VoteVets, remained blocked by Trump's account as of Monday night. The account, which belongs to a progressive veterans advocacy group, was not party to the Knight Institute lawsuit against the president.

So @realDonaldTrump has started to unblock people, per court decision. But not us, or the 550k vets, military families and their patriotic supporters we represent. Well, sorry, @POTUS, but blocking us won't silence us. https://t.co/8Ubea9vZKU


Jaffer confirmed that the president had not yet reinstated a host of other users.

Another day of violated civil rights nbd #BlockedByTrump

"We are concerned by reports that individuals other than our clients are still blocked from the account," Katie Fallow, a senior staff attorney at the Knight Institute, said Monday night. "It should go without saying that those individuals have the same rights as our clients. If they have been blocked on the basis of their viewpoints, the White House should unblock them immediately."

The White House did not respond to questions about Trump's decision to appeal to block people on Twitter.

While Trump unblocked my co-plaintiffs and me, I am deeply concerned that many of my fellow American citizens remain blocked. We brought forth this lawsuit not just to get ourselves unblocked but everyone else too. See you at the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, Mr. President.


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