The 1st Amendment vs Donnie Trump

Imagine, if you will, President Barack Obama, ready to give a press conference, telling his aides that only people who agree with him completely are to be allowed in.  Or, better yet … imagine George W. Bush giving a televised address to the nation after 9/11, but insisting that media companies black out his address to all democratic households.  Fantasy, right?  Silly at best.  And yet, that is exactly what Trump has tried to do.  His preferred venue for communicating his … er, um … thoughts … is Twitter.  I honestly think he must spend 4-5 hours per day tweeting from his throne (bet there’s no shortage of toilet paper there!) 

In 2017, within months of taking the Oath of Office (remember that oath, Donnie?) Trump began blocking Twitter users who dared to disagree with him.  Seven of those users felt that if that is the only means by which he is going to communicate, then We the People must be able to question and yes, even disagree with or criticize him.  And so, those seven convinced the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University to file a lawsuit on their behalf.  Well, the wheels of justice turn pretty darn slowly sometimes, and the case was first heard by Judge Naomi Buchwald in May 2018.  Her 75-page ruling, in a nutshell, said that,  “No government official — including the President — is above the law.”  Hmmmm … perhaps Attorney General William Barr could learn something from her.

Well, Trump and his cadre of lawyers, naturally, appealed the case and in July 2019, a New York-based appeals court upheld Judge Buchwald’s ruling, saying that public officials who take to social media for official government business are prohibited from excluding people “from an otherwise open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees.”

Judge Barrington D. Parker wrote for a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit …

“In resolving this appeal, we remind the litigants and the public that if the First Amendment means anything, it means that the best response to disfavored speech on matters of public concern is more speech, not less.”

Justice Department lawyers defending Trump said in court that @realDonaldTrump is a personal account on a privately owned digital platform and that Trump may block followers he “does not wish to hear.”  Sounds rather like censorship to me.

And … sigh … of course the lawyers picked up their briefcases and headed back to court to file yet another appeal.  Yesterday, the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit denied the Trump administration’s request to revisit the July 2019 ruling.  Of the nine judges who considered the Trump administration’s request, only two said they would have revisited the earlier decision.  The two are both Trump appointees, Judge Michael H. Park and Judge Richard J. Sullivan.  Judge Park wrote in his dissenting opinion …

“The First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech does not include a right to post on other people’s personal social media accounts, even if those other people happen to be public officials.”

Sea ditz.

The last sentence of the article I read … “The Justice Department is reviewing the ruling, a spokeswoman said.”  Translate that as … Trump’s legal eagles will file yet another appeal to a higher court — United States Supreme Court.  Remember something, folks … you and I are paying for all the time these lawyers are wasting, we are paying the judges salary and all their clerks who must review and type their 75-page rulings, we are paying for both legal teams … we are paying through the nose for Trump to have his hand slapped time and time and time again.  And, what happens when the case reaches the U.S. Supreme Court?  Well, let’s see … there are the two Justices he leads around using the rings in their noses – that would be Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.  Then there is  Chief Justice John Roberts who, ever since a few private tête-à-têtes in the Oval Office, has been just as much a Trump boot-licker as Kellyanne Conway.  So, I give you three guesses.

Now, Filosofa, though no legal scholar, is going to weigh in on this one just for a minute.  In the first ruling on this case, Judge Buchwald said that no one, not even the president, is above the law.  And yet, Attorney General William Barr has said that as long as Trump’s fat arse is sitting in the Oval Office, he is above the law.  My best guess is that this will be the argument the high-paid DOJ lawyers will use at the Supreme Court level, and because Bill Barr said it’s so, then … gasp … of course it must be so.

But back to the starting point.  Trump’s attorneys argue that @realDonaldTrump is a private account.  However, I would argue that by default it has become a government account, since Trump conducts nearly all communication with his portion of the public, his 62 million Twitter followers, via Twitter using that account.  The 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives We the People the absolute right to speak out against our government officials.  If I attend a speech in another venue, I certainly can express my own opinion, so … why not on Twitter.

If the case goes to the Supreme Court and if the Court rules in Trump’s favour, We the People must engage in a very forceful protest.  Coronavirus be damned … this is the future of all Americans that is at stake here, for centuries to come.  We simply cannot let him continue chipping away at our Constitutional rights, my friends … it’s really all that remains between us and a full-blown dictatorship.

21 thoughts on “The 1st Amendment vs Donnie Trump

  1. Problem is… we aren’t like the French, there will be no yellow vest protests in front of the White house. Americans for the most part are passive and apathetic – it’s the boiling frog syndrome.
    Can you honestly say that when the Supreme court rules in favor of Trump, you/ your family/ neighbors/ friends will drive/ fly to DC to protest Trump blocking ppl on Twitter?
    Our 1st Amendment rights have been eroding for a very long time, that’s how we ended up with Trump in the first place! The populist movement is a protest against establishment totalitarian rule. That’s why Trump supporters are so avid and empowered (deluded, deceived in my opinion) but nevertheless, here we are.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill, I often cite the quote from Thomas Wells, an attorney who worked for Trump, in a foreboding op-ed before the election. The quote I use most is “Donald Trump lies every day, even about things of no consequence.” But, Wells also warned us about other failings in this person.

    A memorable one will be paraphrased – if you are on Trump’s good side, don’t get used to it, as you won’t be there for long. My words are you won’t be loyal enough, you won’t lie well enough, you won’t stroke his fragile ego enough, or you may just be an easy target to throw under the bus – something will happen that cause the regal-minded person to get rid of you. Mixing metaphors, if you fly to close to the regal sun, you will get burned. Keith

    PS – For Star Trek fans, please recall the second movie “The Wrath of Khan,” with Ricardo Montalban playing the leader of a group of custom crafted, brilliant humans whose lust for power and domination caused their downfall. At the end of the movie, as his right hand man is dying and before the ship explodes, he tells Khan, “yours is the superior intellect.” I think of this movie, not because the president has any special powers, but his people must fawn over him telling him how great he is, even as the ship is about to explode (a petty exemplar of this is the amount of time wasted by White House officials to make the president looks less foolish for his hurricane sharpie prediction – the fact they wasted real time to do this, speaks volumes).

    Liked by 4 people

    • Your point about “if you are on Trump’s good side, don’t get used to it, as you won’t be there for long” resonates today, as it is rumoured that Dr. Fauci has contradicted Trump (obviously, Fauci is the expert here) too many times and is no longer on his good side, thus look for Fauci to be gone, likely in a day or two. Sigh.

      Not being a Trekkie, I haven’t seen “The Wrath of Khan”, but that analogy seems quite fitting … Trump is a megalomaniac who seems to require constant praise in order to feed his huge ego, else he goes about destroying those around him. He would have made a great pirate! And yet, his approval rating is on the rise again, nearly back to where it was on February 18th, before the market began tanking. WHY? What can anybody possibly find to like?

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      • Jill, my independent brother-in-law noted that Trump cannot escape his inner “huckster.” As conservative pundit David Brooks said, even though Trump is doing better, he cannot resist his narcissistic and neurotic nature. The Washington Post wrote today, the two doctors presenting with him, resist the bait to lambast the media or Gov. Cuomo. They just keep on talking. The image is Trump is a toddler pulling on his mommy’s dress to buy him some candy while at the store. His mommy, Dr, Birx in this case, just kept on talking. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Trump uis happy to disrespect the American people by denying them a dissenting voice.That way it looks like all commenters are on his wavelength.When this doesn’t work he runs as usual to his favourite medium, the law courts. But he’ll keep going until he gets the answer he wants thus disrespecting the law too.He should learn not to dish it out if he can’t take it.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 3 people

    • You’re right! If he has his way in this, people will look at his Twitter feed and it will appear that everybody loves him, agrees with him wholeheartedly, and sings his praises. What, no dissenters? Why, he must be perfect! I’m with you … he has nothing nice to say about anybody, calls everyone who disagrees with him nasty names … if he isn’t willing to hear some honest criticism, then he should stop dishing it out. But, he’s a perfectly stable genius, so …
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

    • Gaining control, and repressing all but those who swore an oath of fealty. It is scary, and it’s maddening because other countries have gone down this path before and look what happened. We fail to learn from the lessons of history. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

        • That, my friend, is my fear. I trust Boris far more than I do Trump to put the best interests of his nation and its people ahead of profit and corporate greed. Sigh. If I had the wherewithal, I would be on a plane today to your side of the pond. Sadly, I am not wealthy, have no current passport, and anyway … our borders are closed … we are trapped.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: The 1st Amendment vs Donnie Trump — Filosofa’s Word | Atheist Militants Rising

    • Seriously??? Wow … that must have beensome scathing tweet! I respond to him with great hostility on occasion and have also been known to tell him he is the most ignorant person to ever sit in the Oval office, but I haven’t been booted yet. I did get banned by one of the Fox News bitches, though … cannot remember which one, but Twitter banned me for, I think it was 3 days and made me take my comment down. And believe it or not, all I did was call her a bimbo! I’ve called Trump much worse than that!

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  5. Even Trump cannot block every opposing person’s twitter account. Right now in Alberta we are having a problem with scam calls comi g from various foreign countries to the tune of fifty calls a day, all from different phone numbers. Having called our landline providers, they say they can only block 25 numbers at a time. Our phone continues to ring every half hour, each time a different number.
    Change landline to Twitter. Can Twitter block 200,000,000 Twitter accounts from tweeting on @realDonaldTrump at the same time? I doubt it. Probably that would shut down Twitter, if not the wnole internet.
    If I were you, I would get all your anti-Trump friends to get all their anti-Trump friends to get all their… to tweet Trump all at the same time every morning, and continue to do so until Trump fries his I-phone, and his brain. He cannot shut you all down, but you can shut him down, I bet.

    Liked by 5 people

    • LOL, who would seriously waste their time, energy, emotions on a dodo like Trump? I think Trump enjoys triggering ppl who oppose him b/c it keeps him relevant and important in YOUR life. Anti-Trumpers are just as devoted to his twitter account and hang on his every word as much as Trump supporters. THINK ABOUT IT.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I was having a similar problem with spam calls … dozens a day … but I now have not one, but two blockers on my phone, and they are set to only let through calls that are from numbers on my contact list. My problem now is I’m getting spam text messages! I’ll have to see if one of my blockers can block those. Heh heh … I like your idea to bombard his account and fry his tweety machine! Many of us have wondered why Twitter has not banned him, for he violates their terms of service on a daily basis. But, he is King Trump, after all. Sigh.

      Like

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