There’s not much politically in common between President Trump and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. But they do face similar legal issues related to the First Amendment.
In July 2019, a federal appeals court ruled that President Trump could not block people from his Twitter account, which prevents them from reading his posts (unless they log out). The court ruled that because President Trump uses his Twitter account to conduct official government business, he can’t block others simply because he does not like their views. (Harassment, of course, would be a different matter; it also violates Twitter’s terms of service.)
“In resolving this appeal, we remind the litigants and the public that if the First Amendment means anything, it means that the best response to disfavored speech on matters of public concern is more speech, not less,” the judge wrote. In other words, Trump’s Twitter account constitutes a public forum for political debate. Public forums are exactly the kind of place that should be open to speech, not censored.
AOC should take note. In July, she was sued by a former Republican New York State Assemblyman for blocking him on Twitter, which he claims was due to criticism. In August, Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute sent a letter to the Congresswoman informing her that blocking critics would be unconstitutional.
As of this writing, the lawsuit against AOC hasn’t been resolved. But the previous ruling indicates she has an uphill battle.