Can public officials block citizens on social media or is it a violation of their constitutional rights?

Kentucky Governor Sued

“The First Amendment does not allow the government to exclude speakers from a public forum because it disagrees with their viewpoint.” — ACLU of Kentucky Legal Director William Sharp

Maryland Governor Sued

“As the Supreme Court ruled in June, and a federal judge in Virginia echoed just last week, social media has become a vital means for constituents to communicate with their elected officials,” said Maryland ACLU legal director Deborah Jeon.

Maine Governor Sued

ACLU warns Utah congressional delegation

“Because your social media pages are a public forum, your blocking of these individuals is an unconstitutional restriction on their right to free speech under the First Amendment.” — ACLU of Utah

President Trump sued

“The @realDonaldTrump account is a kind of digital town hall in which the president and his aides use the tweet function to communicate news and information to the public, and members of the public use the reply function to respond to the president and his aides and exchange views with one another.” — Lawsuit filed against Pres. Trump

It’s a complex issue

Little legal guidance

“… the suppression of critical commentary regarding elected officials is the quintessential form of viewpoint discrimination against which the First Amendment guards. By prohibiting Plaintiff from participating in her online forum because she took offense at his claim that her colleagues in the County government had acted unethically, Defendant committed a cardinal sin under the First Amendment.” — Judge Cacheris in Davidson v. Loudoun Country Board of Supervisors

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