A group of Twitter users blocked by President Donald Trump have filed a lawsuit against him, saying the move violates their First Amendment rights.
The Associated Press reported that the suit was filed in a Manhattan federal court on Tuesday, July 11, by representatives from the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. The blocked users argue that because the president, 71, is a government official, he cannot bar people from seeing his account, which is a modern-day public forum.
“The @realDonaldTrump account is a kind of digital town hall in which the president and his aides use the tweet function to communicate news and information to the public, and members of the public use the reply function to respond to the president and his aides and exchange views with one another,” the lawsuit reads, via The New York Times.
The lawsuit argues that Trump violated his critics’ First Amendment rights by blocking them solely because he does not agree with their political opinions. According to the Times, the suit also names White House press secretary Sean Spicer and Trump’s social media director Dan Scavino as defendants.
The real estate mogul often uses the social media platform to speak his mind and address reports about himself and his administration. On July 1, he tweeted, “My use of social media is not Presidential — it’s MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL.”
The plaintiffs are seeking legal fees and an injunction requiring Trump to unblock them and prohibit him from blocking others for their views.
The president has 33.7 million followers on his personal Twitter account. He has tweeted more than 35,300 times since he joined the service in March 2009.