On Friday, August 16, 2019, Judge Brian C. Wimes of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri ruled that Mike Campbell was deprived of his constitutional right to free speech when Missouri Representative Cheri Toalson Reisch blocked Campbell from her Twitter page after Campbell retweeted a comment criticizing Reisch's political views. Judge Wimes granted Campbell's request for declaratory and injunctive relief against Reisch under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
On Tuesday, July 9, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that President Donald J. Trump engaged in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination, in violation of the First Amendment, by blocking certain users' access to his Twitter account based on those users' speech on Twitter. The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University sued the President on behalf of seven Twitter users who were blocked from the President's Twitter account after said users tweeted replies to the President critical of his personality and policies. Judge Barrington D. Parker concluded "that the First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise-open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees."
Congressman Devin Nunes has reportedly filed a defamation lawsuit in Virginia state court against Twitter, Republican political consultant Liz Mair, and two parodical Twitter accounts (@DevinNunesMom and @DevinCow) seeking at least $250 million in compensatory and punitive damages. The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that Twitter is intentionally refusing to enforce its Terms of Service and Twitter Rules against accounts that supposedly attempt to defame conservative individuals such as Nunes.
In an order issued today, the US Supreme Court has granted the Trump administration's request to stay orders in two cases filed in federal district courts within the 9th Circuit to block the administration's policy banning most transgender people from serving in the military from going into effect. The Court's decision permits the ban to be temporarily implemented while the cases progress through the appeals process and any Supreme Court review. The Court denied the Trump administration's request to bypass the appellate process completely, but provides a preview of how the Court will likely rule if it hears these cases on the merits.
A California appeals court has ruled in favor of Twitter in confirming that it is protected from liability by section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in deciding what content should be allowed on its platform. Jared Taylor, a publisher of white nationalist content, was permanently kicked off of Twitter in December following the company's announcement that it planned to more closely scrutinize users promoting violence. Taylor subsequently sued Twitter for banning him and his publication from its platform, and while the trial court threw out two of his claims, it allowed his unfair competition claim to go forward.
A federal district court judge has ruled the President cannot block users from his Twitter account based on their political views. The account is a public forum and as such the President's first amendment rights do not out weigh those of his Twitter followers. Read the full opinion and view the case filings at Justia.
MLB persuaded Twitter to suspend the account of Rob Friedman, which shows brief videos and GIFs of individual pitches from MLB games, but the fair use doctrine may protect Friedman's tweets.
In July of last year, the Knight First Amendment Institute of Columbia University filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump, among others, claiming that the President's Twitter account constitutes a public forum subject to the First Amendment. The lawsuit alleges that by blocking certain users who are critical of him, President Trump is effectively denying those users access to a public forum in violation of the First Amendment.
In a somewhat surprising holding, a US district court judge in New York recently held that a news organization's embedding of someone else's tweet with copyrighted material violates the tweeter's right to exclusive display of the tweet.