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Justice Department asks Supreme Court to let Trump block his Twitter critics

By Brian Fung, CNN

Updated: Thu, 20 Aug 2020 20:19:02 GMT

Source: CNN

The president who complains about censorship by Twitter wants to censor people himself.

On Thursday, the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to overturn a lower court's decision and grant President Donald Trump the ability to block his critics on Twitter.

The petition seeks to revive a case decided by a New York federal judge in 2018. At the time, Judge Naomi Buchwald said Trump violated the First Amendment when he sought to stifle his online critics because portions of his Twitter account are considered a public forum. A three-judge panel upheld the ruling on appeal.

Thursday's Supreme Court petition argues that the lower courts got it wrong.

"The President uses his account to speak to the public, not to give members of the public a forum to speak to him and among themselves," the petition reads.

The Knight First Amendment Institute, which brought the original case, said the court should reject the petition.

"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," said Jameel Jaffer, the organization's executive director, in a statement.

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