WASHINGTON - Can you sue the President of the United States and win? As a D.C. woman learned, the answer is yes.
Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza was one of seven people along with the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University blocked by President Donald Trump on Twitter.
“Sometime in early June, I realized my Twitter feed turned into a series of gray boxes and outraged comments,” said Buckwalter-Posa, a judicial affairs editor for the left-leaning Daily Kos. “I have been critical of his China trade policy, some stern words about Russian stealing the election.”
She added that she never used profanity, save for a time or two.
“It’s astonishing a public official can suppress our speech for being critical," she said.
On Wednesday, a federal judge in New York ruled Trump violates the First Amendment by blocking critics on Twitter for political speech.
Attorneys for the Justice Department had argued that the only public Twitter forum for President Trump was the official @POTUS account, citing the fact the @realDonaldTrump handle, which he more frequently uses, was created years ago when he was a private citizen.
“To be fair, the Department of Justice keeps tweets from @realDonaldTrump as official records," said Buckwalter-Posa. "The White House has said they are records of official declarations, so that argument wasn’t going to fly."
In her 75-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Naomi Buchwald, a Clinton appointee, had suggested that Trump mute rather than block some of his critics. When that was mentioned during the initial hearing earlier this year, a Justice Department attorney agreed that muting would enable Trump to avoid a tweet he doesn't want to read.
The White House has not commented on the case, and the Justice Department is reviewing its options, which could include an appeal.