Trump’s team told the Knight Institute on July 20 that the president doesn’t intend to unblock those users, according to the suit. The Knight Institute’s lawsuit wants Trump to blanket unblock all users unless there are justifiable reasons to keep them blocked on an individualized basis.
“Defendants’ continued blocking of Individual Plaintiffs … violates their First Amendment rights,” the Friday lawsuit said. “It unconstitutionally restricts their rights to read or participate in the discussion occurring in the public forum of the @realDonaldTrump account.”
The lawsuit continued: “It also unconstitutionally restricts their right to access statements that Defendants are otherwise making available to the public at large, and their right to petition the government for redress of grievances.”
Trump was ordered to unblock Twitter users in the 2018 decision on the grounds that cutting people off from important policy announcements for things they tweeted was a violation of their free speech. In contesting the decision, the Justice Department argued that Trump’s Twitter account is not owned by the government and he is free to exclude whomever he liked on his private account, the existence of which predates his presidency.
“An official’s decision to exclude someone from his personal residence would not exercise the authority of the government, even if he were giving official statements on that property on that day,” the Justice Department argued in an August court filing. “And what is true for real property is likewise true for a social media account.”
The White House declined to comment on the lawsuit. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.