A pending case before the United States Supreme Court about flags and flagpoles could determine two crucial questions for First Amendment law: (1) who is speaking—the government or an individual; and (2) when does the government create an open forum for freedom of expression.
Not every “political” social media account run by a public official is a public forum, a three-judge panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled on January 27th. The case involves a Missouri state legislator who was sued by her political opponent after she blocked him from her Twitter account.
The newspaper sued the university after the student government passed a bill excluding media student groups from accessing activity funds. The legislation was passed just days after the paper published a controversial article satirizing safe spaces.
As in previous cases, the president's lawyers insist that the president's personal account is private and he should be allowed to exclude critics freely. They also emphasized that the act of blocking was not a kind of state action because it did not involve government power.
The lawsuit says that the President continues to exclude users who were blocked before his inaguration or cannot specify the tweet that provoked the block. According to the complaint, the President’s staff told the Knight Institute as recently as July 20nd that the President “does not intend to unblock persons who were blocked prior to his inauguration or who cannot identify a tweet that proceeded and allegedly precipitated the blocking.”
Update 9/4/2019: A federal judge ordered President Donald Trump and White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham to immediately restore Karem’s press pass. […]