First Amendment

Free Speech Defenders Warn Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez That She Is Violating the Constitution by Blocking Critics on Twitter

The same First Amendment principles that apply to the president also apply to the congresswoman.

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On the same day last month that a federal appeals court ruled that Donald Trump's blocking of irksome critics on Twitter violated the First Amendment, former New York state legislator Dov Hikind sued Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.), arguing that she had committed the same constitutional sin by blocking him. Yesterday, Columbia University's Knight First Amendment Institute, which filed the lawsuit that led to the ruling against Trump, asked Ocasio-Cortez to cut it out.

"We understand from news reports that you may be blocking some Twitter users from your @AOC account because of the views they have expressed," Jameel Jaffer, the institute's executive director, writes in a letter to Ocasio-Cortez. "This practice is unconstitutional, and we are writing in the hope of dissuading you from engaging in it."

In addition to the ruling against Trump by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit (which includes New York), Jaffer cites a January ruling against Phyllis Randall, chair of the Loudoun County, Virginia, Board of Supervisors. In that case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit held that, because Loudon used her "Chair Phyllis J. Randall" Facebook page for official purposes and opened it to comments by the general public, the "interactive component" of the page qualified as a "public forum" under the First Amendment. The court upheld a federal judge's decision in favor of a local gadfly whom Randall had blocked after he posted a comment suggesting that members of the Loudon County School Board had taken official actions that benefited their relatives.

Echoing Trump and Randall, Ocasio-Cortez argues that her @AOC Twitter account is personal, not official. But in light of the principle established by the 2nd Circuit and 4th Circuit cases, Jaffer says, that argument does not hold water. "Based on the facts as we understand them, the @AOC account is a 'public forum' within the meaning of the First Amendment," he writes. "You use the account as an extension of your office—to share information about congressional hearings, to explain policy proposals, to advocate legislation, and to solicit public comment about issues relating to government."

The parallels between the president's @realDonaldTrump account and Ocasio-Cortez's @AOC account are pretty clear. Although both of them also have nominally official Twitter accounts (@POTUS and @RepAOC, respectively), their ostensibly personal accounts are much more popular as forums for discussing policy and politics (with 64 million vs. 27 million followers in Trump's case and 5.3 million vs. 188,000 in Ocasio-Cortez's). And Ocasio-Cortez, like Trump, uses her "personal" account for purposes related to her public office.

"Recently, for example," Jaffer says, "you used the account to discuss new 'policy approaches we should consider wrt immigration,' and to ask the public, '[w]hat commissions would you want to see Congress establish?' The account is a digital forum in which you share your thoughts and decisions as a member of Congress, and in which members of the public directly engage with you and with one another about matters of public policy….Many of your tweets staking out positions on issues such as immigration, the environment, and impeachment have made headline news. The @AOC account is important to you as a legislator, to your constituents, and to others who seek to understand and influence your legislative decisions and priorities."

The 2nd Circuit ruled that "the First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees." But like Trump, Ocasio-Cortez is under no obligation to engage with her critics on Twitter or even to read what they say. In fact, she could, consistent with that decision, mute detractors such as Dov Hikind, so that she would never have to see their comments, as long as she allowed them to participate in the "interactive space" associated with her account.

"We urge you to unblock any Twitter users whom you or your staff have blocked from the @AOC account because of the viewpoints they have expressed," Jaffer says, while noting that Ocasio-Cortez still may block Twitter users "for reasons that are both reasonable and constitutionally legitimate," such as threats of violence. "We would welcome the chance to work with you to develop a social media policy that both complies with the First Amendment and helps you address threats, abuse, and harassment."

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  1. lmao. Cortez is the mirror image of Trump. Also this categorizing twitter as some kind public good is patently retarded.

    1. “Also this categorizing twitter as some kind public good is patently retarded.”
      Couldn’t agree more. I do NOT have to listen to some twit on the ‘phone, why twitter?

    2. Fucks happening with the world.

      1. get out the woodchippers, we can still fix this

      2. Some sort of confusion/conflation of freedom of speech and freedom of association?

        “Official” Congresswoman twatter = 1A applies and she is violating it by blocking others?*

        Private citizen Alexandria = block everyone/nobody cares/exercise freedom of association.

        1. Wrong part of 1A

          right to petition government for redress of grievances.

          Once a pol is using the platform for official purposes, then that platform IS an extension of the govt. Blocking opponents is then eliminating that right to petition for redress of grievances.

          1. Ya that’s what I meant by

            “Official” Congresswoman twatter = 1A applies and she is violating it by blocking others?

            1. Oh. I thought the question at the end meant you didn’t think it was actually a 1a issue

      3. People have confused platforms open to the public that are funded by corporations as a right and/or a required platform for free speech.
        1.) Purchase domain
        2.) Pay for hosting
        3.) Learn html or buy site development software
        4.) Upload your opinion to a website that is your property
        5.) Call lawyer if you get sued for defamation
        Or you could just get a big sign and stand on the street corner if local ordinances permit such activity. Got mad respect for those people. It’s either a case of extreme determination or schizophrenia. Or both. Still. Respect given.

    3. The point is not that we have to listen to AOC, Trump or anyone in government, but they have to listen to us. Elected officials also have to allow anyone who wants to listen to them to do so.

      If they use Twitter, the New York Times or CNN to announce policy positions or to solicit opinions from the public, they may not block anyone.

      1. Deciding that social media platforms are gov. protected free speech zones is only going to open the door to these platforms and companies becoming categorized as utilities. the last thing I want is these stupid fucking companies being propped up till the end of time because they are the preferred medium of the chattering class.

        1. No one has said social media platforms are government protected free speech zones.

          What they have said is that if you’re going to use a social media platform as part of your government communications strategy then you can not block anyone from that communications channel – just as you can’t block them from any other public-government communications channel.

          Don’t like that, don’t use social media to promulgate policy and seek public feedback through it.

          1. If you put out a press release, there is no obligation to read or even accept comments on it.

          2. What about when Rand Paul lets say writes an opinion piece on a foreign policy proposal for the NYT. Do I get a free newspaper that day? Or will they just send me a copy of the article?

            1. I think the corollary would be that they can’t prohibit you from buying a copy of the paper that day.

              It is odd, and doesn’t quite follow, campaign events are allowed to ban certain members of the public.

              1. Technically campaign events are held by candidates in their private capacity as candidates, even for incumbents, rather than public events. As with other campaign expenses, they have to be paid for with funds raised for a campaign.

                1. By the logic of the ruling, if the candidate discussed policy at those events, or asked for the crowd to express their support, they could not ban anyone.
                  It’s insane.

                  If Trump announces a policy idea while taking a bath, does everyone have the right to be there to talk with him?

                  Our right to petition the government does not extend to their personal space, or should not. F the US court of appeals.

                  1. No, the logic of the ruling doesn’t affect campaign events in any way. Campaign events are run by politicians in their individual capacity. The ruling held that Trump was using his Twitter account in his official capacity.

      2. “The point is not that we have to listen to AOC, Trump or anyone in government, but they have to listen to us. Elected officials also have to allow anyone who wants to listen to them to do so.”

        Which is
        bull
        .
        .
        .
        shit.

      3. I was blocked by NYT and CNN for years, still ’em from the NYT. For god sake they wanted me to pay for their service. Who knew that the government owned them this whole time and therefore they are public institution.

        1. I was blocked by NYT and CNN for years, still ’em from the NYT. For god sake they wanted me to pay for their service. Who knew that the government owned them this whole time and therefore they are public institution.
          ____________________________________________
          best washing machine in india

    4. Also this categorizing twitter as some kind public good is patently retarded.

      You shut the hell up! We need Twitter and section 230 to protect it. Otherwise, the internet and free speech, neither of which were possible until 1997, are lost.

      1. I thought it was protected by Area 51?

        1. No, it’s servers are located in Area 51, administrated remotely by psionic waves from The Overseers at Zeta Reticuli.

          1. That’s nuts. There is no such thing as psionic waves. Area 51 receives it’s instruction sets just like everyone else – radio waves from PSR J0108-1431.

    5. Also this categorizing twitter as some kind public good is patently retarded.

      This point cannot be overstated.

      1. Retarded people have free speech rights, too. Sure, most of it’s just unintelligible sounds and a lot of arm flapping that doesn’t make any sense and you’re tempted to laugh at it even though you know you shouldn’t because you know they’re trying so hard to make sense and maybe they don’t have the mental capacity to understand the limits of their intelligence, but, you know, just because they’re on Twitter doesn’t mean it isn’t rude to laugh at the poor things.

        1. Exactly. Case in point: nobody stops Tony from commenting here.

    6. Also – nobody is categorizing Twitter as a ‘public good’ by its actual definition. ‘Public Good’ doesn’t just mean ‘good for the public’.

      1. This point cannot be overstated.

      2. Yeah, but a lot of people using the phrase don’t know that.

      3. Categorizing something as a “private good” further muddles the divide between private property and public property, which may play in the government’s favor after all.

        1. Sorry, I meant “public good”.
          Categorizing something as a “public good” further muddles the divide between private property and public property, which may play in the government’s favor after all.

    7. Telling you, somebody should sue Twitter for banning them and removing their access to the public arena.

      1. This. If Twitter is a de-facto public square, then the criteria for being banned from it need to be about as severe as being banned from walking around Times Square.

        If Twitter is NOT a de-facto public square, then Trump and AOC can mouth off however they like and block people they don’t want to talk to, and it’s merely a tool for personal communication.

        1. Public square has nothing to do with it. Twitter has free speech and can allow their customers to do whatever they want.

          This is about a straightforward law applying to government officials. It is, however, a silly political attack against the president to apply it here.

          Proof: The shoe is on the other foot with AOC, and “Oh no, again the Republicans are weaponizing our own tactics against us!”

      2. Twitter is open to kids and porn is shared regularly. Section 230 means twitter isn’t liable. What idiot thought this was cool? Who has a platform open to minors that allows porn? That’s some straight-up nose-thumbing at the law.

  2. Goose, let me introduce you to gander. I’m sure you’ll have a lot to discuss.

    1. Worst porno ever, Sevo.

    2. Ooooh, saucy!

      1. Bernaise agrees.

        1. He agrees with anything Count DuMonet says.

          1. And he had best. It get too saucy.

      2. Starting Ryan Gosling.

  3. A bad ruling is a bad ruling. It hurts everyone.

    1. Bad ruling is right. It’s pretty arrogant and dishonest of these lawyers in black robes to completely rewrite plain, simple English in the first amendment. Congress shall make no law… It’s a restriction on the scope of authority for the U.S. Congress to make law regarding criminalization of speech. It has nothing to do with associations or communications any member of the federal government chooses to have, or chooses not to have. Stop broadening the application of such simple law.

      1. The fact that the 1A says “Congress shall make no law” doesn’t mean that Congress is permitted to make unofficial advisements,
        official regulations, or unwritten rules that limit freedom of speech, religion, press, etc.

  4. In all seriousness, AOC is being consistent here. No matter what she says, I haven’t seen anything to suggest she cares about anybody’s rights–free speech, property rights, or otherwise.

    A right is the obligation to respect other people’s choices.

    AOC is legitimately in favor of using the government to violate people’s right to make choices for themselves on a whole host of things, and she is legitimately opposed to using the government top protect people’s rights.

    She may not respect the legitimacy of the Constitution or the reality of our rights, but I think she’s been fairly consistent on that. AOC is an authoritarian socialist. Why should we expect her to respect people’s rights?

    1. In all seriousness, AOC is being consistent here.

      In all seriousness lots of people are being selectively consistent here. If AOC has to listen to everyone on Twitter, Twitter can’t pick and choose who does and does not get a voice. I mean, obviously they can, because the law enacted by congress, that’s totally consistent with the amendment that says ‘Congress shall make no law’ says they can and be shielded from civil liability for doing so, but once you get past all the hypocrisy and inconsistency… yeah consistent forward progress.

      1. the same people who are defending AOC online were the people saying Trump couldn’t block people these people don’t even wait 5 min before outing themselves as shameless hypocrites.

        1. All I can think of looking at a picture of AOC, beyond her stupidity and Marxism, is that she almost certainly enjoys really rough sex.

        2. Yeah, but why should we be held hostage to the hypocrisy of the left? Hypocrites are right when they’re telling the truth and wrong when they’re not.

          If they’re full of shit, they’re full of shit. That doesn’t mean they’re wrong when they’re speaking the truth. It means no one should bother listening to them–as a general rule.

        3. That’s just logic though. Logic isn’t needed for messages you type with your thumbs.

  5. Not to defend OCA or anything, but she absolutely does have the right to block people from her account. Ditto for Trump. Note that this does NOT mean those blocked can’t read their posts. That’s not how Twitter works. It just means that their feeds don’t automatically get sent to those users, but those users still have 100% ability to access the feeds to see what they said.

    That said, it’s still a bad move to block users. Twitter should NOT be treated as a mechanism to broadcast, but when one ends up using it as a broadcast mechanism, then it’s bad form to be blocking people. Both OCA and Trump are being dicks by blocking people. It’s just not against the Constitution to be a dick.

    1. Technically, they only resolved half (or less) of the case.

      AOC and Trump only have to listen to Twits on Twitter under the guise of Twitter as a common carrier. Under the guise of owner/editor selectively reporting others’ content, Twitter can do whatever the fuck it wants whether users, AOC, or Trump want them to and are immune to prosecution from AOC, Trump, and users because they’re a common carrier.

      It’s not against the Constitution to be a dick, but a plain-letter reading of section 230 and the 1A showed section 230 to be just as unconstitutional as the rest of the CDA was.

      1. “AOC and Trump only have to listen to Twits on Twitter under the guise of Twitter as a common carrier.”

        Neither AOC nor Trump have to listen to anyone on Twitter. The Trump decision permitted him to mute anyone (which prevents him from seeing their replies), just not block them (which prevents them from directly replying to his tweets).

        1. Your selective stupidity is showing again. There isn’t any question about whether Trump can mute his TV or refuse to subscribe to the NYT or simply allow his phone to ring endlessly without answer. The *single* reason that there’s a question as to whether Trump can block somebody or not is because Twitter is, by law, oxymoronically both a stakeholder and a non-entity in the whole process. Nobody’s claiming that WaPo, Random House, or even AT&T is some public forum by/on which free speech is ensured. Trump can absolutely tell Ballantine Books not to sell any copies of The Art Of The Deal to jph12 and is overwhelmingly free to ask and even license them not to publish any of your rebuttals to him. Even if he did ask, because there is no section 230, Ballantine is under no duress to accommodate him and, most importantly, if you did suspect Ballantine of impropriety with regard to his request, you can sue both of them because they don’t enjoy section 230 or common carrier protections.

          Let’s say Joe Lieberman phones up Twitter and tells them to kick someone off, is it a violation of their 1A rights? If Twitter voluntarily chooses to obey him section 230 shields them from responsibility (despite the conflicted interest that Joe voted in favor of the CDA), right?

          The whole reason there’s even a question is because section 230 lashes social media to the government as a dependent right arm.

          1. “There isn’t any question about whether Trump can mute his TV or refuse to subscribe to the NYT or simply allow his phone to ring endlessly without answer.”

            Which means you were wrong when you said that Trump and AOC had to listen to people on twitter. Which I pointed out. I’m not sure why this makes you so angry.

            “The *single* reason that there’s a question as to whether Trump can block somebody or not is because Twitter is, by law, oxymoronically both a stakeholder and a non-entity in the whole process.”

            No, the question is about whether, by using his Twitter account in his official capacity and allowing the general public to comment on his tweets, Trump created a public forum and whether he violated the First Amendment by banning people from that forum. While Twitter is mostly stupid, and nobody should really care, the legal arguments are actually quite interesting.

            “Nobody’s claiming that WaPo, Random House, or even AT&T is some public forum by/on which free speech is ensured.”

            That’s not what the legal claims in these cases are about either. Nobody is claiming that Twitter is a public forum.

            “Even if he did ask, because there is no section 230, Ballantine is under no duress to accommodate him and, most importantly, if you did suspect Ballantine of impropriety with regard to his request, you can sue both of them because they don’t enjoy section 230 or common carrier protections.”

            Your understanding of both the facts and the law is woefully deficient.

            “Let’s say Joe Lieberman phones up Twitter and tells them to kick someone off, is it a violation of their 1A rights?”

            Perhaps. Private parties acting at the government’s behest is a complicated topic.

            “If Twitter voluntarily chooses to obey him section 230 shields them from responsibility (despite the conflicted interest that Joe voted in favor of the CDA), right?”

            No. You really have no idea what Section 230 does, do you?

            “The whole reason there’s even a question is because section 230 lashes social media to the government as a dependent right arm.”

            No, it really doesn’t.

            1. the question is about whether, by using his Twitter account in his official capacity and allowing the general public to comment on his tweets, Trump created a public forum

              That’s not what the legal claims in these cases are about either. Nobody is claiming that Twitter is a public forum.

              Go fuck yourself with rusty knife you lying sack of shit.

              1. You seem nice. Not very bright, but nice.

            2. “No, the question is about whether, by using his Twitter account in his official capacity and allowing the general public to comment on his tweets, Trump created a public forum and whether he violated the First Amendment by banning people from that forum. While Twitter is mostly stupid, and nobody should really care, the legal arguments are actually quite interesting.”

              “Nobody is claiming that Twitter is a public forum.”

              So Twitter isn’t a public forum, but becomes one when a government official discusses policy on it?

              The question isn’t as interesting as it is unnecessary. The 1A doesn’t entitle you to be involved in a conversation or reply to someone’s thoughts. It’s that simple. A user on Twitter has options to limit how much of his thoughts and images can be transmitted to the world. I keep my conversations private on Disqus.

              Being a Twitter user is not an invitation to any debate. There doesn’t have to be any debate there. I could run a bar and tweet “come for happy hour on Thursday” and block anyone who trashes my business. A Twitter conversation is nothing but than a message board thread, it was never intended to be occasion to officially shape policy. Otherwise Twitter would be facing certain liability issues.

              How can a private channel or social media page suddenly become “public” because government officials discuss policy there? How? On whose constitutional authority? If a hotel allows a politician to use one of their spaces to host a town hall meeting, they lose the right to block vagrants and people without shoes from entering their premises?

              Any member of the SC who doesn’t strike down the lower court decision should just resign.

              1. “So Twitter isn’t a public forum, but becomes one when a government official discusses policy on it?”

                No, the argument isn’t that Twitter becomes a public forum, it’s that the replies to Trump’s tweets are public forums because of the way he (and AOC) use twitter.

                “The 1A doesn’t entitle you to be involved in a conversation or reply to someone’s thoughts.”

                No, but it does prohibit the government from excluding you from a public forum based on your ideology.

                “If a hotel allows a politician to use one of their spaces to host a town hall meeting, they lose the right to block vagrants and people without shoes from entering their premises?”

                Of course not. These cases aren’t about Twitter being unable to block people, they are about the politicians being unable to block people in ways that violate the First Amendment. Do you think the government, not the hotel but the government, would be able to block people from attending the town hall based on their political ideology simply because it was being held on private property?

    2. If Trump/AOC were private citizens using twitter from their mom’s basements like everyone else, I would agree. But when they got elected, they became something lower than citizens; they became slimy public officials that need to be disciplined like puppies. It makes me happy that some other animalian public official hobbled their abilities to act out.

      1. And AOC is also a communist traitor. So she doesn’t even have a soul to begin with.

        1. I’m not sure Trump has a soul, either. He’s got a better sense of humor, sure, a but soul? I’m skeptical.

          1. Well he too is a commie traitor.

            1. Uh, no…….

        2. You can’t stand her because she is not a bigot and she is not white.

          This is why you will be replaced, clinger. By your betters.

          1. She is white. She is bigoted against anyone reasoned and informed enough to shatter her slaver worldview.

            1. Also the Rev bot is consistently the most racially obsessed troll/poster here.

              1. Honestly, is Kirk just another parody account? There’s a different slant than #OBL, but the beats are perfectly consistent and predictable. Almost every comment mentions “betters,” “clingers,” and is often some form of race-baiting.

                1. OBL lets slip the joke from time to time, subtly. So either Kirk is a mastermind at parody or just the raging asshole he appears to be.

                  1. In his insults he reveals himself; bitter, jaded, cynical, bigoted, hateful.

                    Very sad.

        3. She died her hair a while ago.

    3. While I agree that the original court got it wrong, until that decision is overturned it is the law of the land. I see no problems (and considerable good) in requiring that decision to be enforced consistently.

      I also see no problem with cases like this calling out AOC and her supporters as flagrant hypocrites because of their failure to follow standards that they insisted their political opponents had to follow.

      1. “until that decision is overturned it is the law of the land.”

        Or at least of the Circuit.

      2. Judges don’t make law. They render opinion. The law remains unchanged. The text of the first amendment remains unchanged, and not applicable to this situation. It is up to those subsequently enforcing the law to consider, or not, the opinions rendered.

    4. I agree that the decision on Trump was fucking asinine…but everybody has to live with it or we need to simply do away with it.

  6. while noting that Ocasio-Cortez still may block Twitter users “for reasons that are both reasonable and constitutionally legitimate,” such as threats of violence

    Of course, to a Leftist disagreement constitutes “violence”.

    1. Any disagreement is defined as “violence”.

      OCA: I want broccoli on my pizza
      EES: I would rather have mushrooms
      OCA: Now we see the violence inherent in the system!

      1. Once again, the market innovated and provided a peaceful, and brilliant solution that involved offering pizzas with different toppings on each half.

      2. Well to resolve this we simply adhere to our subjective and shifting victim pyramid divided by how far they are from my opinion (another subjective) scale. If that fails we progress from passive aggressive argument to full fledged Soros sponsored violence.

  7. Ocasio-Cortez accuses Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute of being a white supremacist institution in 5…4…3…2…1….

    1. Well of course! Knights of Columbus, White Knights, Black as Night.

      1. The Night Man Cometh

  8. That picture…Castro’s politics and his mannerisms.

    1. Caption: “…and the key to maintaining your dignity, when performing the minimum required amount of fellatio to maintain your relationship, is no eye contact.”

    2. I’m just waiting for someone to do a minor photoshop adjustment on it…

    3. It’s uncanny. I was watching a documentary last night that touched on the Cuban missile crisis and the footage of Castro waving his arms and yelling at the crowd around him was a taste of things to come.

      1. It’s creepy. And probably not coincidental.

        1. My sister is an AOC cultist. I pointed out the similarity and she got upset, which I found bizarre. If she loves AOC I don’t see what she’d find so offensive about Castro. The beard? The fatigues? The fact that he was a cishetstraightgendersexual man?

  9. Gadfly? Sounds like someone I’d like to get a beer with.

  10. “…in light of the principle established by the 2nd Circuit and 4th Circuit cases, Jaffer says, that argument does not hold water.”

    Well, this is consistent, since 95% of her ideas don’t hold water, either.

    1. You know who else couldn’t hold his or her water?

      1. Edmund Fitzgerald?

        1. That would be a what, and it wasn’t holding water that was the problem.

          1. Were you on board at the time? You do know that ‘hold’ doesn’t (necessarily) mean ‘keep *out*’, right? Hulls that won’t hold sink ships all the time and a hull that won’t hold water in also doesn’t hold it out.

            1. If you have a hole in your hull above the water line, you could hold water out without holding it in.

              1. I was agreeing with you. Holding water wasn’t the problem, it was the inability to hold it that was. The evidence indicates that the Fitzgerald was in tact when it sank with the main question being whether the water that came in came in above or below the waterline (with above being the most popular theory).

                1. Ah, got it now.

                  1. I am just going to wait for Gordon Lightfoot to confirm all this.

                    1. According to Gord, Lake Erie can’t hold her water. Confirmed.

        2. She had such a beautiful voice!

          1. The ship might have made port of she wasn’t scatting orders.

            1. IF she wasn’t.

      2. Jesus, palms up?

      3. Henry Clay Frick?

      4. Michael J Fox?

        1. Jfc. You win.

        2. love this.

      5. AOC. Heard she was a shitty bartender.

        1. Maybe. Her superpower is turning clingers into hysterical, whining, seething fools.

          1. That’s what she does to herself.

          2. pleasant to look at.

            1. Probably gives really good head too. Crazy bitches like her usually do.

              1. absolutely.

        2. Heard she was a shitty bartender.

          She was a trained bartender working as a full-time waiter. So, either she’s a shitty bartender or shitty at finding bartending jobs.

          1. Well if it weren’t for the evil capitalist white males, she’d have at least been assistant manager of the Applebee’s.

  11. We Koch / Reason libertarians must keep in mind that democratic socialists like AOC agree with us on our fundamental, non-negotiable issue: open borders. Indeed, AOC has been instrumental in publicizing the fact that Drumpf is running literal concentration camps in which people are literally forced to drink from toilets.

    #LibertariansForAOC
    #ImmigrationAboveAll
    #ToiletsArentForDrinking

    1. Who’s “We”, white man?

    2. A drunken Sullum is sitting at the bar when OBL moves up behind him and huskily whispers into his ear: ” I have a banana in my pocket – want to reach in and check?”
      The East Coast big shot journo violently projectiles watery vomit all over the front of bartender AOC’s flimsy white t-shirt, making it semi-transparent and revealing her Big Pun tat and nipple rings.
      AOC looks back up at Sullum and says: “Sorry, senor – ees no biker bar! Ees Applebees!”

    3. You forgot to add that AOC is just morally [vs. factually] superior, so rules that apply to everyone else are not applicable. Like what Matthew Dowd said about Al Franken, if you’re working for the “common good” then he should not be held to the same standards as those who, in Dowd’s opinion, are not.

  12. Democrats don’t need no steenking principles.

    1. Nor have they ever had any.

      1. They get in the way of accumulating power.

        1. “The common good”, they misinterpret as a physical one thing.

  13. I’m curious, if AOC had a friend that worked at twitter and asked them to ban someone they disliked from twitter, would that be a-ok because private property?

  14. Just curious, do you guys think that this is a good precedent?

    1. I think they should both be allowed to ban whoever they want to ban.

    2. No. The courts should just rule that since social media cannot be fair and impartial, all social media outlets should be banned.
      Free speech only applies to vocalizations from a human, just like 2A only applies to flintlock muskets.

      1. No cannons?

        1. Well, OK. But only black powder, solid ball, smoothbore ones.

          1. “Smoothbore” was my college nickname…

    3. It doesn’t make sense to me.
      A public official, limiting some person’s single account from engagement with them on a social network, does not resemble the government limiting an individual’s freedom of speech on a public forum.
      It’s kind of nice that it may be applied impartially, but I still think it’s stupid and unnecessary.

      1. Yeah it just seems like they are feeding the trolls by getting involved

      2. “limiting some person’s single account from engagement with them on a social network”

        That’s not the damage alleged in the Trump lawsuit, or at least not the damage that led to the victory. The damage was being unable to engage with all of the other people responding to the tweets. It’s still just twitter, so it’s stupid and probably unnecessary, but it is closer to the government limiting speech in a public forum than many of its detractors are giving it credit for.

        1. “The damage was being unable to engage with all of the other people responding to the tweets” through the same channel

          They had the right and ability to respond by other channels. So this ruling is pure bs.

          1. Which the court held was a public forum, which makes the availability of other channels pretty much moot.

  15. The initial ruling against Trump was silly, if this gets that ruling overturned, I will be satisfied. If it does not, then the Left’s pet pols have to live by the rules they have created for the politicians they oppose.

  16. What gets me is that these, supposedly, ‘smart and internet savvy young Millenials’ don’t seem to get that you can just make another account.

    I can see why here existing account gets coopted – its already well known, has a lot of people on it, etc. So, just make another account – and keep it for genuinely personal stuff.

    1. Or just move everything over, and make the assholes sure all over again. Kind of like reverse abuse of process.

    2. I think it’s more complicated than that. I’m not defending the ridiculous precedent that disallows politicians to block people, but I think the people who brought this to a court challenge didn’t want to “just create a new account”. They had an established social media presence– a ‘brand’ if you will. If I’m known to thousands– or even hundreds of followers as “JiminiCrickets6957”, creating a new account kind of effs that up– especially if I’m building that “brand” on getting into tits-for-tats with the President.

  17. Sorry broheims, this precedent has been set. Concrete poured, structure in place. You’re a public figure- especially a sitting politician, you can’t block people on twitter.

  18. “The same First Amendment principles that apply to the president also apply to the congresswoman.”

    No. She is a democrat; that’s different.
    No. She is a woman; that’s different.
    No. She is a minority; that’s different.
    No. She is a New Yorker; that’s different.
    No. She is bat shit crazy; that’s different.
    etc.

    1. At least two of those are redundant.

  19. Yesterday, Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute, which filed the lawsuit that led to the ruling against Trump, asked Ocasio-Cortez to cut it out.

    Translation: We didn’t realize this precedent would be used against someone we like… fuck… please stop, it’s making us look bad.

    1. Aaaand I’d also like to add that if the Knight First Amendment institute sees this as a first amendment issue, then Prager U is well… WELL within the grounds of the first amendment when they make their arguments– which from what I’ve read are not first amendment arguments, but only referencing the first amendment in the context of the spirit of American Free Speech.

  20. I’m sure the same judges that blocked Trump from blocking critics would not block AOC from blocking critics. They are trained to discern “penumbras” and “emanations” not to mention “taxes” and penalties”. It’s all in the wrists.

  21. Just wondering how far we can go with this public forum thing.

    If AOC wears a T-shirt with a political slogan, does that give me the right to add my own comments to her shirt?

    1. this precedent stakes out 10 x 10′ squares of property inside of twitters virtualized servers as ‘public property’. It’s bizarre beyond comprehension. Can these people now delete their private twitter accounts? Can twitter legally block them if they violate Twitter’s terms of service? Think of the downstream implications of this.

      1. I think it comes down to an “everyone or no one” decision. Either everyone can follow/comment on her Twitter feed, or she can delete it, or it disallow all comments, so no one can comment.

        Same goes for adding comments on her t-shirt, either everyone can or no one can.

      2. It’s bizarre beyond comprehension.

        Bizarre beyond comprehension and yet not at all unpredictable.

        Can twitter legally block them if they violate Twitter’s terms of service?

        Considering Twitter can legally block them without violating Twitter’s TOS I don’t see why you would involve extra criteria unnecessarily.

        Think of the downstream implications of this.

        Think that, like Obergefell v. Hodges, this *is* a downstream implication.

      3. “this precedent stakes out 10 x 10′ squares of property inside of twitters virtualized servers as ‘public property’. It’s bizarre beyond comprehension.”

        While it’s just twitter so nobody should care and multiple federal suits are ridiculous, the legal issues aren’t really bizarre at all. If the government rents a room in a private building to hold a public meeting, there’s no question that the government cannot exclude people from that meeting based on their viewpoint even though the room remains private property. It’s the government’s use of the private property that has to comply with the First Amendment, not the private property itself.

        “Can these people now delete their private twitter accounts?”

        Yes, without a doubt. Assuming twitter has the option, they could also prohibit all comments on their tweets.

        “Can twitter legally block them if they violate Twitter’s terms of service?”

        Yes, assuming you are talking about Trump and AOC, without a doubt.

        Whether Twitter can block people from accessing their feeds is a more interesting question. It may well be that Twitter can, but because Twitter can, the government cannot use Twitter. If you go back to the room analogy, it’s not at all clear that the government could rent a room where it knew people would be barred from attending based on their ideologies (or other characteristics).

        1. Yes, without a doubt.

          Bullshit. Even in their own documentation Twitter is ambiguous about deactivation vs. deletion. Unless you work for Twitter or are some legal eagle who can readily provide independent legal documentation that Twitter does, indeed, delete the information ‘without a doubt’ is a lie. Considering you follow it up with ‘Assuming twitter has the option…’ I’m going to guess that you’re full of shit.

          If you go back to the room analogy, it’s not at all clear that the government could rent a room where it knew people would be barred from attending based on their ideologies (or other characteristics).

          Weird how such a room’s could existence would just coincidentally depend upon and yet be entirely unrelated to the legal paradox that is the 1A and section 230 (as well as public accommodation if taking the metaphor more literally).

          1. “Bullshit. Even in their own documentation Twitter is ambiguous about deactivation vs. deletion. Unless you work for Twitter or are some legal eagle who can readily provide independent legal documentation that Twitter does, indeed, delete the information ‘without a doubt’ is a lie. Considering you follow it up with ‘Assuming twitter has the option…’ I’m going to guess that you’re full of shit.”

            I’m pretty sure that Diane Reynolds (Paul) doesn’t care about the distinction between deleting and deactivating twitter accounts, and neither do I. I freely admit to not knowing, or caring, so you totally burned me there. I am scorched. How ever will I recover?

            “Weird how such a room’s could existence would just coincidentally depend upon and yet be entirely unrelated to the legal paradox that is the 1A and section 230 (as well as public accommodation if taking the metaphor more literally).”

            There is no legal paradox involving the First Amendment and Section 230. And the vast majority of public accomidation laws don’t cover political ideologies.

            1. I freely admit to not knowing, or caring, so you totally burned me there. I am scorched. How ever will I recover?

              I don’t care if you feel burned or not. There is doubt and you don’t care. To the point that you’ll dismiss any/all cares on behalf of others. It’s pretty underhanded, but it doesn’t bug me. What bugs me is the abject and earnest lying.

              1. Aren’t you the delicate little flower. It’s adorable.

                I’m sorry that you feel that I’m not validating your truth when I point out he legal, factual, and logical errors of your arguments, but that’s just how things go in the rough and tumble world of the marketplace of ideas on the internet. And we have Section 230 to thank for that. Perhaps you should stick to a safe space, like your bedroom, where you can talk all you want and nobody will tell you you’re wrong.

        2. If the government rents a room in a private building to hold a public meeting, there’s no question that the government cannot exclude people from that meeting based on their viewpoint even though the room remains private property.

          If Donald Trump bloviates about policy in his own livingroom, can he keep people out of his own house? That’s a better analogy. And the answer is, you bet your ass he can kick you out of his house.

          1. “That’s a better analogy.”

            Most of the dispute is about which is the better analogy. But there’s nothing bizarre about either analogy.

          2. “And the answer is, you bet your ass he can kick you out of his house.”

            In the extremely unlikely scenario where Donald Trump took the steps necessary to convert his living room into a public forum, then no, he wouldn’t be allowed to kick people out based on the ideological opinions. The absurdity comes from the near-impossibility of his living room becoming a public forum.

            1. In the extremely unlikely scenario where Donald Trump took the steps necessary to convert his living room into a public forum

              Twitter IS a “public forum” by design. Twitter gives its users (renters in your analogy) the right and tools to block users. If a bizarre court precedent tells Trump that he can’t “click that button”, they’ve essentially nationalized a tiny portion of Twitter. And that’s why everyone was scratching their head as to how they’d even enforce this ruling when it came out.

              Do we create a Department of Twitter Blocking to oversee who can press that button and who can’t? Do we demand Twitter remove the ‘block’ button on a case-by-case basis for user accounts that have been identified as “public forums”? Does Twitter have to pro-actively investigate it’s hundreds of millions of users and determine which might fall under such a category? Does Twitter itself have any responsibility here since Donald Trump technically doesn’t own that Twitter account– Twitter does.

              The AOC case delightfully lays bare the contradictions and complications of such a patently retarded ruling.

              1. “Twitter IS a “public forum” by design.”

                Not in the legal sense. In First Amendment litigation “public forum” is a technical term of art (with several variations). Twitter itself is almost certainly not a public forum in the technical sense because it’s neither owned nor operated by the government (except maybe in California, which does treat shopping malls as public forums, but that’s California for you).

                “And that’s why everyone was scratching their head as to how they’d even enforce this ruling when it came out.”

                It’s easy to enforce. People that Trump has blocked go to court and get an order telling Trump he has to unblock them. He either unblocks them or he’s in contempt of court.

                “Does Twitter itself have any responsibility here since Donald Trump technically doesn’t own that Twitter account– Twitter does.”

                No. Twitter doesn’t have to do anything, for Trump or any other politician. The violation is by the politician, not by Twitter, and so is the responsibility for avoiding that violation. And not all personal accounts for politicians will qualify as public forums provided they don’t use them for official purposes or open up their replies to the general public.

                If I remember correctly, one of the curious features of the Trump decision is that it leaves open the possibility that active and extensive use of the block feature could prevent his replies from being considered a public forum because they would not be considered to be open to the general public.

    2. or the right to pour milk down it?

      1. Way to make sour cottage cheese…

  22. Let the trolling begin.

  23. AOC is a typical far left nut case who thinks blocking opposite views will make her look good when in fact it makes her look like a pathetic socialist snowflake who brooks opposing viewpoints…which she is.

  24. seems completely in-character.

  25. AOC = POS

  26. I’m just here to remind everyone how much of an authoritarian, illiberal ignoramus this idiot is.

    Have a nice day!

    1. hello. the blue jays’ kids are fun to watch.

      1. You know you’re talking to an Expos now turned Dodgers fan, right?

        1. how do you feel about 1981 now then?

          also i hate the jays but my statement stands

          1. You’ve made a new enemy, the Jays will arise to their usual 3rd-2nd place soon in the East. The Expos has to be the quirkiest organization I think North American sports has put together. The Expos didn’t suck, Montreal and Loria did and do.

            1. i loved to watch John Olerud hit?

  27. ‘The 2nd Circuit ruled that “the First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees.” ‘

    If the 2nd Circuit’s reasoning stands, the proper legal analysis is that a government official simply *using* twitter for a public forum violates the 1st Amendment, as Twitter blocks people for constitutionally protected speech.

    @getongab

    1. There is a difference between Twitter blocking someone and a government official blocking someone.

      But this only makes sense when you understand that using a social media account in an official government capacity doesn’t make the entire social media platform a public utility. It only makes the account used a public forum. There’s a difference, one that even less tech savy judges understood and defined in their decision.

  28. I always love it when Occasional-Cortex gets a steaming load of karma in her face. gg

  29. Ah yes, Lolita Lebrón 2.0
    The kind of blind faith that made Puerto Rico the helpless slum it is today!

  30. Public park, public highway, public broadcasting system… is “public” a Newspeak euphemism for The Political State?

    1. Hank, try English and simple sentences for a while, and then more complex concepts.
      So far anything beyond ‘see Jane run’ seems to leave you confused.

  31. Personally, I could care lass about AOC’s dumb tweets because the media repeats everything anyway the same as with Trump. However, the same rules should apply to everyone, and if Trump is not allowed to black anyone, then I see no reason why AOC should be allowed to block anyone if she uses her account as part of her job.

  32. She’s right. A legislator does not have official acts that it can conduct like an executive. Even if the Trump decision is right, it doesn’t or shouldn’t apply to AOC.

    1. of COURSE she is …. hahahahahahahahaha

      People will say anything to justify their double standards.

    2. You don’t get how this works do you? “Official acts” would mean any communication in an official capacity of their government position. Not actual acts of Congress or acts of the Executive. I’m not sure if you’re being obtuse or not so I thought I’d give an explanation a go.

      If a government official uses a social media account in their official capacity as a government official, then the account is a public forum. Not the entire social media platform, as some here repeatedly and inanely suggest.

      If AOC had not used her personal account for official communication of her position, then she could ban anyone she desired from her personal account. Same for Trump, had he not used his personal account then he’d have been able to ban anyone he wanted. But they did, so they are both bound by the rules.

      As for some of those on here suggesting that use of an official account makes the entire social media platform a public utility, you’ve completely missed the nuance available in the decision which I also believe was covered here as well.

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  34. I do not have the time to read all of the comments already posted but will offer my opinion and ask questions.
    Corporations have the same rights as citizens and may deny service as they see fit.
    However, If the court designates a social media platform as a “public forum” does that mean the owners MUST not prevent free speech? Or does private ownership mean even a public area can deny Constitutional rights.
    Seems a grey area to me. Would appreciate a knowledgeable legal opinion.

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