No, Trump isn’t violating the First Amendment by blocking his critics on Twitter

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A federal appeals court in New York will hear arguments on March 26 in a free speech lawsuit alleging that President Trump is violating the First Amendment by blocking his critics on Twitter. But while protecting true free speech is important, the president doesn't have any constitutional obligation to listen to criticism—so ultimately, this lawsuit is baseless.

This all started back in 2017. The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University—a free speech organization—filed a First Amendment lawsuit on behalf of seven people who were blocked from Trump's Twitter account. The lawsuit argued that the president has used his Twitter account on numerous occasions to announce official statements, making it a "public forum" in their view. Because the president used his account in an official capacity, he cannot constitutionally bar citizens from viewing or interacting with them, or so they say.

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This is a misguided argument, but a federal judge bought into it anyway. A 2018 ruling from federal judge Naomi Reice Buchwald found that Trump acted unconstitutionally when he blocked some of his critics on the social media site he spends a lot of time on. Buchwald classified Twitter as a "public forum" in her ruling, and argued the president had no right to block his critics in the online space.

Adding weight to Buchwald's interpretation of the First Amendment is a January 2018 ruling against a local government official in Virginia. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia determined that government officials cannot block their constituents on social media. Phyllis J. Randall, chair of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, deleted a critical comment from a constituent on her Facebook page and temporarily blocked the man from accessing it. A judge ruled that she ran afoul of the First Amendment by deleting the comment and by preventing access to her Facebook page based on the man's views.

Randall's Facebook page and Trump's Twitter account amounted to a digital town hall, therefore they were on weak constitutional footing when they supposedly closed the doors on their critics. This sounds like a reasonable interpretation of the First Amendment, but it's fundamentally flawed.

If the court rules in favor of these disgruntled Twitter users then it will set a problematic precedent for how government officials, from the president to a county commissioner, can use social media.

For one, there is a major difference between blocking someone on Twitter and deleting a comment on Facebook. Even if Trump blocks someone on Twitter, they are still able to tweet about the president to their heart's content. And deleting a comment on a Facebook page prevents everyone from seeing it, not just the intended target of the critical message. If the president found some way to delete critics' tweets then there would certainly be a First Amendment issue, but preventing someone from engaging with his account isn't violating their freedom of speech. The plaintiffs in the Knight First Amendment Institute lawsuit are still free to tweet their criticism of the president, but they have no constitutional right to make him engage with them or hear them out.

Randall very well may have erred by preventing her constituent from participating on her Facebook page, but that's not the same thing as Trump blocking his critics. Even with a block Trump critics are still able to tweet and engage on Twitter, just without their tweeting popping up on the president's screen. One may argue that with a block they can't see his tweets, but that isn't true. If the critics who are blocked just sign out of their accounts then they can go to his account to see his tweets without issue, as Trump's Twitter page is not privacy protected.

If the court rules in favor of these disgruntled Twitter users then it will set a problematic precedent for how government officials, from the president to a county commissioner, can use social media. While the First Amendment guarantees the right to speak freely without fear of government censorship, it does not hold that anyone, even the government, must listen. A government official isn't obligated to hold a town hall to listen to the concerns of constituents, even if it's in the best interest of transparency and the public trust. The government should be more open and responsive to the public's concerns. That doesn't mean people should have unfettered access to a government officials' ear, even if it belongs to the president.

Lindsay Marchello is an associate editor with The Carolina Journal and a contributor with Young Voices. Follow her on Twitter at @LynnMarch007.


There are new curriculum standards being implemented into schools throughout the nation for health classes that not only go far beyond what's appropriate for young children, but are entrenched in clear political biases, too. Under the standards, third-graders are taught about hormone blockers and endless gender identities, and topics get shockingly graphic for kids as young as 11. Some schools are even teaching their teachers and kids to ignore what parents have to say about these topics. And the worst part may be that many parents are completely unaware what their children are being taught.

Tina Descovich, co-founder of Moms for Liberty, joined "The Glenn Beck Program" to explain exactly what you can ask at your next school board meeting to ensure this "horrifying" curriculum isn't being taught in your kid's school.

Watch the video clip below:

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It should come as no surprise that a newsworthy story receives more media coverage when released on a Monday than a Friday. The reason is in part due to a large number of news-consuming Americans checking out for the week to focus on their weekend plans rather than the news.

On Monday's radio program, Glenn Beck shared information that President Joe Biden decided to release on Friday — when fewer people would notice — regarding the Climate Finance report. This report is marketed to Americans as "A Roadmap To Build a Climate-Resilient Economy." But Glenn believes the report to be Biden's Great Reset warning shot to banks.

In this clip, Glenn warned that if Americans don't stand together, in eight years we all indeed will own nothing. Watch the clip for the full story. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.



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On today's radio program, Glenn Beck was joined by Bill O'Reilly to discuss the top stories of the week.

For O'Reilly, the biggest story this week centered around someone mysteriously missing from mainstream media news reports today: Mark Zuckerberg. Specifically, O'Reilly said it's the 'scandalous' way the Facebook CEO spent nearly $420 million to influence the 2020 election — and did so successfully.

Watch the clip to hear the full conversation. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

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On Thursday's radio program, Grace Smith and her father, Andy, joined Glenn Beck on the phone and provided a first-hand account of Grace's refusal to wear a mask at school.

Smith, 16, began a maskless protest after her school district in Laramie, Wyoming, decided to implement a mask mandate. As a result, Grace received three suspensions, was issued two $500-citations, and was eventually arrested.

"How long were you in jail?" Glenn asked.

Grace said was taken to jail but was never booked nor was she was placed in a jail cell.

Glenn commended Grace's father, Andy, for raising such a "great citizen" and asked if it was Grace's idea to protest. Andy said it was Grace's idea, explaining that they took the position of arguing on the grounds of civil rights rather than the efficacy of wearing a mask.

Grace has since withdrawn from public school and started a home school program. She also told Glenn that she will continue to fight the school district, legally.

You can donate to Grace's legal fund here.

To hear more from this conversation click here.

Disclaimer: The content of this clip does not provide medical advice. Please seek the advice of local health officials for any COVID-19 and/or COVID vaccine related questions & concerns.

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