Donald Trump goes to Supreme Court to let him block people on Twitter

21 August 2020, 00:46

Donald Trump has gone to the Supreme Court so he can block people on social media
Donald Trump has gone to the Supreme Court so he can block people on social media. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Donald Trump has gone to the Supreme Court to ask for permission to block people from following him on Twitter as Covid-19 deaths in the US top 174,000.

The Justice Department on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to overturn a decision made by the federal appeals court in New York which ruled the President violated the First Amendment when he blocked a critic.

It decided that Trump uses his account to make daily political statements and share information.

But he has now argued that the @realdonaldtrump page - which has over 85 million followers- is his personal property, and he should be able to block who he likes.

It also claims that blocking someone from seeing what he tweets is comparable to senior politicians who refused to allow signs for their opponents be displayed in their front garden.

Donald Trump is arguing his handle is his personal property
Donald Trump is arguing his handle is his personal property. Picture: PA

In the filing, the acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall claimed: "President Trump's ability to use the features of his personal Twitter account, including the blocking function, are independent of his presidential office."

A decision on the case is not expected to come before November's Presidential election.

Thursday's filing comes the same day as a New York Judge ordered Trump must release his tax filings from the past eight years, and his former political Steve Bannon was arrested and charged with fraud over an online fundraiser to build the border wall with Mexico.

The Knight First Amendment Institute, which brought the original suit on behalf of seven people who were blocked by Trump, has said the court should reject the petition.

Jameel Jaffer, the organisation's executive director, said: "This case stands for a principle that is fundamental to our democracy: government officials can't suppress speech simply because they disagree with its message,"

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