President Trump will appeal a ruling that he violates the First Amendment rights by blocking critics on Twitter.
The Department of Justice initiated the appellate process on Monday, when it officially notified U.S. District Court Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in New York that it will ask the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse her ruling. Buchwald said late last month that Trump engages in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination by blocking people who disagree with him.
Her ruling came in a lawsuit filed last July by the Knight First Amendment Institute and seven critics of the president who were blocked by him. They argued that the Trump's twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, is a "public forum" -- meaning it is comparable to city streets, parks and other locales where the government can't prevent people from speaking based on their views.
The users asked Buchwald to declare the blocks unconstitutional, and to order Trump and other officials to remove the blocks.
Buchwald agreed that the blocks violated the First Amendment, ruling that the President can't block someone on Twitter "in response to the political views that person has expressed."
But she stopped short of ordering the White House to unblock anyone, writing instead that she expected the White House to follow the law.
The Knight Institute said Monday that the users who were named in the lawsuit have been unblocked, but added that the White House may still be blocking other critics. "It should go without saying that those individuals have the same rights as our clients," Katie Fallow, senior staff attorney at the organization, stated. "If they have been blocked on the basis of their viewpoints, the White House should unblock them immediately.”