Max Brantley
FREQUENT BLOCKER: Sen. Jason Rapert.

A federal appeals court in Manhattan today upheld a lower court judge who found that President Trump violates the U.S. Constitution when he blocks critics from Twitter.

The basic facts in the Trump case are very similar to those in a complaint that’s before federal Judge Kristine Baker: Late last year, four Arkansans sued state Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway) in U.S. District Court for his practice of blocking critics on Facebook and Twitter. The four identify as atheists and the suit was brought by the American Atheists organization.

The lawsuit over Trump’s practices was brought by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University on behalf of seven people who were blocked by Trump.

Writing on behalf of the three-judge panel, Circuit Judge Barrington D. Parker said:

Advertisement

“The irony in all of this is that we write at a time in the history of this nation 7 when the conduct of our government and its officials is subject to wide‐open, 8 robust debate.  This debate encompasses an extraordinarily broad range of ideas 9 and viewpoints and generates a level of passion and intensity the likes of which 10 have rarely been seen.  This debate, as uncomfortable and as unpleasant as it 11 frequently may be, is nonetheless a good thing.  In resolving this appeal, we 12 remind the litigants and the public that if the First Amendment means anything, 13 it means that the best response to disfavored speech on matters of public concern 14 is more speech, not less.”