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Judge Tells Trump to Pretend to Listen to Twitter Haters

A lawsuit leads to a suggestion that the president engage in a kinder, gentler ignoring.

Trump tweet on displayAlex Edelman/dpa/picture-alliance/NewscomIn order to resolve an unusual First Amendment lawsuit over whether President Donald Trump can block people on Twitter, a federal judge has a suggestion: What if he just pretended to listen to them?

The Knight First Amendment Institute and seven individuals are suing the Trump administration because of Trump's tendency to block people from following his "official" Twitter account if they tweet mean things at him.

A lawsuit sounds absurd, but there are some interesting First Amendment implications surrounding it. Trump and his administration are using a private social media account on a private platform to communicate public messages about important policy decisions. People who are blocked from following the president cannot see these messages. It's not just about sending sarcastic comments to the president. Blocking also makes it difficult to see what the president of the United States is saying.

U.S. District Court Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan seems to be trying to navigate this complicated problem without setting some sort of precedent over censorship, speech, free association, and private social media platforms. She pitched a suggestion to both sides in the lawsuit yesterday: What if Trump merely "muted" these people instead of blocking them?

To explain to those of you who have managed to avoid getting sucked into Twitter's vicious gravity: Muting a person on Twitter is essentially a secret block. If President Trump were to mute you, you'd still be able to follow him and see his tweets. But he would never see any tweets or messages you directed his way. In old-fashioned postal delivery terms: Blocking is when the post office returns a letter with a "delivery refused" notice; muting is when they just quietly toss it in the trash without saying a word to you.

So if the president were to merely pretend that he was listening even though he wasn't, this could potentially satisfy both sides. Notes The New York Times:

Katie Fallow, a lawyer for the Knight Institute, said that she was receptive to the possible compromise. She noted that muting would be "much less restrictive" of her clients' rights.

Nicholas Pappas, a comedy writer and one of the seven plaintiffs, told a gathering of reporters after the hearing that it would be "a great solution," if he were muted, rather than blocked, by the @realDonaldTrump account. (Mr. Pappas was blocked by that account after tweeting in June: "Trump is right. The government should protect the people. That's why the courts are protecting us from him.")

There's something so very telling about the relationship between citizens and government authority that's implied in this proposed compromise. These people can be satisfied as long as they can send their messages to Trump, even though he'll never see them or read them or even remotely care about them. (OK, so they also want to be able to see and quote the president's tweets, which in theory they can't do if they're blocked, though there are well-known workarounds. And practically every tweet from the president gets media coverage these days.)

No doubt many folks who have attempted to give feedback to government can relate. President Barack Obama's administration made a big deal about its "We the People" petition site, where citizens could attempt to get responses from the White House over their pet issues. But as the site grew popular, the White House increased the signature threshold to even get a response to try to hold back the trolls. As I noted back in 2013, it appeared that all the administration used the petition site for was to provide "a justification for what the administration is doing, wants to do, or has already done rather than an indication of the administration actually changing a position based on public dissatisfaction."

In the end, all the judge is suggesting here is that the Trump administration do a better job of pretending to care about what members of the public have to say. That people know it's just a pretense but will be happy anyway probably says more about the frustrated state of our communications with those who control the government than it does about the First Amendment.

Photo Credit: Alex Edelman/dpa/picture-alliance/Newscom

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    In old-fashioned postal delivery terms...

    I don't need millennialsplained, Shackford.

  • Brandybuck||

    I don't see a first amendment problem here. Imagine the same president fifty years ago. Instead of twating he used his newsletter. If he didn't like someone he would just drop them from his newsletter mailing list. Does that mean he's violating their first amendment right? Of course not!

    No one has a first amendment right to someone else's tweet. Sheesh.

  • Cyto||

    I had similar thoughts. Only a few hundred people can hear the president speak at his event on Thursday night. Is that a first amendment violation?

    The "because Trump" exception to reason is pretty powerful if we are really trying to set court precedents that social media accounts must be fully accessible to all.

  • Rossami||

    Interesting analogy. Do we have any records of past presidents communicating by private newsletters?

    I suppose we do have lots of records of presidents communicating by private correspondence - that is, one-to-one letters. Is that sufficiently comparable to the way social media works?

    But, yes as a non-twitterite, this seems like a tempest in a teapot.

  • Chumby||

    CSPAN is on cable. And cable is private.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    The president can't mute people on twitter. The people have the right to petition their government with their grievances. If the president mutes their twitter, they are denied this right, as well as the right to free speech!

    In fact: give me Trump's personal phone number right now! I can't talk to him!

  • Eidde||

    Nobody has a First Amendment right to someone else's tweet, but they have the right to petition the government.

    Suppose the House of Representatives adopted a rule that all petitions of a certain subject would be automatically be laid on the table unread?

    In fact, that actually happened.

    Some "compromise" - letting the President block all petitions which come to him through a particular platform.

  • Eidde||

    ...if sent by the "wrong" people.

  • SIV||

    No. Trump should block whoever he wants to block.

    People who are blocked from following the president cannot see these messages

    If you're that fucking stupid, Shackelford, how'd you manage to live this long?

  • Zeb||

    But if they can't get them instantly on their feed, they might literally die.

  • Troglodyte Rex||

    Literally waiting for a large number of them to do just that.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    Fingers crossed...

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Laugh at their argument now, but when Twitter is nationalized for the sake of the country, this will be the most important SCOTUS decision since [insert egregious and offensive comparison here].

  • Brandybuck||

    ""[insert egregious and offensive comparison here]""

    Dredd Scott?

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    That was my first choice, yes.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    It was my understanding that people who hate-follow Trump are the only thing keeping Twitter afloat at this point.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Politicians have been ignoring us since time began. Nothing to see here, folks. Moving along...

  • SQRLSY One||

    Trumpty Dumpty, He's quite off-the-wall,
    Trumpty Dumpty won't stay in His toilet stall
    He just goes ahead and takes His shits,
    Totally regardless of whereever He sits
    Whenever He simply, no way, can sleep,
    He Twits us His thoughts, they're all SOOO deep!
    He simply must, He MUST, Twit us His bird,
    No matter the words, however absurd!
    He sits and snorts His coke with a spoon,
    Then He brazenly shoots us His moon!
    They say He'll be impeached by June,
    Man, oh man, June cannot come too soon!
    So He sits and jiggles His balls,
    Then He Twitters upon the walls
    "Some come here to sit and think,
    Some come here to shit and stink
    But I come here to scratch my balls,
    And read the writings on the walls
    Here I sit, My cheeks a-flexin'
    Giving birth to another Texan!
    Here I sit, on the pooper,
    Giving birth to another state trooper!
    He who writes these lines of wit,
    Wraps His Trump in little balls,
    He who reads these lines of wit,
    Eats those loser's balls of shit!"

  • Eidde||

    This sounds familiar...are you quoting one of Robert Browning's poems?

  • SQRLSY One||

    If Robert Browning is one of those who writes on bathroom walls...

    Then, yes!!!

  • Brandybuck||

    Bobbie Burns you ain't

  • SQRLSY One||

    Yeah, man, ye speak of a certain truth...

    But, I can burn yer boobies if'n ye want me to!!!!

  • Zeb||

    I'm not sure I quite understand how Twitter works, but it is my understanding that all you need to do to see twits from someone who has blocked you is to log out of your twitter account. And doesn't the press repeat pretty much all of his tweets anyway?

    I think Trump is being an ass by blocking people on his twitter. But it's not as if it's really stopping anyone from getting any particular information.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    The complaint is that others cannot see the genius of your replies.

  • Zeb||

    Ah. Then I don't quite understand how Twitter works.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    There's even the "press sec" account that rewrites his tweets as if they were official statements from the White House. I think it does it for every tweet.

    Granted, you don't get the image of Trump's tough gai headshot next to the words, but it's usable.

  • Bubba Jones||

    If true then the lawsuit is moot.

  • DajjaI||

    Wow if this works there are so many quasi-public people I will use this against.

  • Jerryskids||

    .Trump and his administration are using a private social media account on a private platform to communicate public messages about important policy decisions. People who are blocked from following the president cannot see these messages.

    I'm assuming there's a Braille version of Twitter to go with their real-time translation service in 256 languages for non-English speakers?

    Your free speech rights don't include the right to listen to other people and there's still all the many ways to communicate with the President there were pre-Twitter. And it's not like whatever shit Trump spews on Twitter isn't going to get covered by CNN and WaPo in an infinite loop until you swear to God I'm going to blow my brains out if I have to see this shit one more fucking time.

  • Rhywun||

    I have better idea. The judge could toss this lawsuit in the trash where it belongs. I can't we're wasting taxpayer dollars on this flapdoodle.

  • Tony||

    Remember when conservatives, even if they had nothing else, pretended to care about dignity?

  • Eidde||

    "At least *we* still care about dignity. Now where's my pussy hat, it's time for me to go to the demonstration!"

    /progs

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    It will be interesting 20 years down the line to see how people will defend Trump as a fond memory compared to whoever is the Republican power-that-be then.

    This treadmill keeps on rolling.

  • Zeb||

    So Idiocracy is our future?

  • Tony||

    It has been rather a devolution.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    Nope.

  • Bubba Jones||

    You are confusing politicians with voters.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Its been asked - if Trump cannot block people because it is censorship, can Twitter ban people? Can a Democrat block me?

  • Chumby||

    Block you? Yes. Chop block? No. That's a penalty.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Trump must be dying of laughter. What these wankers are essentially saying is that Trump's mental flatulence tweets are of vast importance in their lives. He's so completely in their heads it's insane.

  • Eidde||

    They're silly, but sometimes even silly people stumble against real constitutional issues...though in this case they might fail to properly recognize the right-to-petition angle.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    You have a right to petition. You don't have the right to saunter into the Oval Office and deliver said petition personally by hand.

  • Eidde||

    Strictly speaking, pressing a petition into the king's hands has been a traditional way of seeking a redress of grievances.

    But I'll concede that *legitimate* (ie, non-censorship related) security reasons can, so to speak, trump the right to physically accost the President with a petition.

    What legitimate security purpose is served by blocking Twitter petitions?

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Does it need to specifically be a 'security' concern? Can Trump delete his account? It would have the same effect. Can Trump have mail to his private business office tossed out w/o him reading it?

    Trump isn't stopping anyone from Tweeting - he is refusing to give them a public audience.

  • Eidde||

    I'd say that if a petition reaches him through any means, he has a duty to receive the petition - not to grant it, but to receive it.

    He can respond by denying the petition, or by taking no action at all, but he can't throw it in the trash.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    "he has a duty to receive the petition"

    That's not how the right to petition works.

  • Eidde||

    Why not? John Quincy Adams thought that was how it worked. He was a former President, FWIW.

  • Eidde||

    "The Sultan of Constantinople cannot walk the streets and refuse to receive petitions from the meanest and vilest in the land."

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    Let me put a cork in that line of argument right now. The musings of former presidents are meaningless.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    "John Quincy Adams thought that was how it worked. He was a former President, FWIW."

    Nothing. It's worth nothing.

  • Eidde||

    You're making a lot of conclusory statements, but without supporting arguments, these statements are of little value.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    You're the one attempting an argument from authority.

  • Eidde||

    And you're not attempting any argument at all.

    How the House of Representatives, and a former President, interpreted the right of petition is relevant to the discussion.

    You could say, "those guys were wrong because..." but you didn't.

    Historical practice under the Constitution is perfectly legitimate evidence. Note that I didn't say it was conclusive evidence.

    But you're trying to beat something with nothing.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    "without supporting arguments, these statements are of little value."

    Rhywun gave you the case law, why would I repeat it?

  • Eidde||

    He gave me a Wikipedia article.

    Why are you so irritable?

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    "He gave me a Wikipedia article"

    Which cites caselaw

    "Why are you so irritable?'

    Why are you so obstinate?

  • Eidde||

    Hmmm...I see that the Wikipedia article mentions a 6-3 decision in favor of organized labor, limiting the ability of nonunion professors to communicate with their employer about the terms and conditions of their employment.

    Following the links, I see that Justice Stevens dissented:

    "Minnesota has delegated public policymaking to various employers, but at the same time required that those policies be made in a closed environment where citizens are not even given any realistic opportunity to petition those policymakers for redress of grievances, and policymakers are not free to decide whether they wish to consider the views of disfavored speakers."

    Brennan, that known anti-labor Justice (/sarc) also dissented.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    Cool story bro.

  • Eidde||

    What did I say above about backing up your claims with actual arguments?

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    "Nothing in the First Amendment or in this Court's case law interpreting it suggests that the rights to speak, associate, and petition require government policymakers to listen or respond to communications of members of the public on public issues."[10]

    We're done here.

  • Eidde||

    And that's why Stevens, Brennan and Powell dissented.

    Or do you believe that the decisions of the Supreme Court are automatically the law?

    What about *Kelo*? Is that the law, just because a divided Supreme Court said it was?

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    So, you re saying you don't know how courts and case law work.

    "No no, you see, there was DISSENT!!!"

  • Eidde||

    "So, you re saying you don't know how courts and case law work."

    You're saying that the decisions of the Court are automatically the law.

    In which case the Justices would never overrule themselves, because they would be OMG OVERRULING THE LAW!

    But they overrule themselves all the time.

    They overruled themselves on corporate speech.

    They overruled themselves on "separate but equal."

    And so forth.

  • Eidde||

    apparently, only duly-certified union goons...I mean representatives...had full petition rights.

    And you're OK with that?

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    Oh, we are talking about what I'm ok with now, instead of what is Constitutionally required.

  • Eidde||

    This seems to be the case you're leaning on...a 6-3 decision letting organized labor limit the right to petition.

    Instead of asking if you're OK with that, I'll ask, how is this constitutional? Because the Supreme Court anointed the practice with magic constitutionality-granting oil?

  • Eidde||

    PS - in citing a Supreme Court decision, you were making...wait for it...an argument from authority.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    You insisted on it.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    "So, if someone bought time on public access tv, to petition Trump, he would be required to watch?"

    I asked you this down thread and you ignored it.

  • Eidde||

    No, just as George Washington wouldn't be required to watch a play about federal policy.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    So,there's your answer. Have a nice day.

  • Eidde||

    How does that prove the Pres has the right to throw away a petition unread if it's specifically sent to him?

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    How about you explain why it's not constitutional?

    And do so without bloviating about some guy who was in charge for 5 minutes.

  • Eidde||

    Justice Stevens, in his dissent to the case you cite as authority, said:

    "As the District Court found, the statute gives only one speaker a realistic opportunity to present its views to state officials. All other communication is effectively prohibited, not by reference to the time, place, or manner of communication, or even by reference to the officials' willingness to listen, but rather by reference to the identity of the speaker. The statute is therefore invalid because the First Amendment does not permit any state legislature to grant a single favored speaker an effective monopoly on the opportunity to petition the government."

    /465 U. S. 271, 300-301

    Justice Stevens was in authority for more than five minutes. 35 years on the Supreme Court, IIRC.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    And he was overruled. Now what.

  • Eidde||

    I didn't know you accepted the Supreme Court's decisions as part of the Constitutional Magisterium.

    Does the Constitution mean what the Court said it meant in the *Kelo* case?

    What about the "marijuana is interstate commerce" cases?

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    What exactly is is that you think the Supreme Court does?

    And,why do you keep ignoring my question, then getting catty in your replies?

  • Eidde||

    Maddow's Fleshlight|3.9.18 @ 2:23PM|#

    "So, if someone bought time on public access tv, to petition Trump, he would be required to watch?"

    I asked you this down thread and you ignored it.

    reply to this report spam
    Eidde|3.9.18 @ 2:30PM|#

    No, just as George Washington wouldn't be required to watch a play about federal policy.

  • Eidde||

    "What exactly is is that you think the Supreme Court does?"

    A lot of time, what the Supreme Court does is give mistaken decisions.

    But don't take my word for it, read the decisions in which they acknowledge that they were wrong in the past.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    "A lot of time, what the Supreme Court does is give mistaken decisions"

    Cool story.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    So, what are you still arguing? You've acceded the only point in contention.

  • Eidde||

    What point did I concede?

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    That Trump can choose to refuse to accept petitions for reasons other than security.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    Eidde|3.9.18 @ 2:30PM|#

    No, just as George Washington wouldn't be required to watch a play about federal policy.

  • Eidde||

    I left several questions above which you didn't answer, though you were insistent that I answer yours.

  • Eidde||

    For example, I asked about Presidents not having to watch TV or plays:

    "How does that prove the Pres has the right to throw away a petition unread if it's specifically sent to him?"

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    The show was specifically sent to him as well, and you agreed he didn't have to watch it.

  • Eidde||

    "The show was specifically sent to him"

    No it wasn't.

    And you haven't answered my question about whether the Supreme Court decision in *Kelo* correctly interpreted the constitution.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    "No it wasn't"

    Thafuck? You're telling me what my own hypothetical was? Weak.

    "So, if someone bought time on public access tv, to petition Trump, he would be required to watch?"

    When did you become Tony, lying about what was said?

  • Eidde||

    I'm certainly sorry if I misunderstood your hypothetical.

    But you believe that misinterpretations are due to dishonesty, which says more about you than about me.

    It would certainly be an interesting case if, for lack of watching public access TV, the President misses a petition meant for him. Hopefully a concerned citizen would watch the show and forward the petition to the President, who would then have to receive it.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    Yup.

  • Eidde||

    I guess I shouldn't hold my breath waiting for you to answer my questions.

    Having invoked the Supreme Court as an authoritative expositor of the Constitution, I would have thought you'd at least try to finesse your way out of the *Kelo* decision, which is the Law of the Land under your interpretation.

  • Greg F||

    Why not? John Quincy Adams thought that was how it worked. He was a former President, FWIW.


    He was one sly dog. He didn't have a twitter account.

  • Eidde||

    So *he* had an excuse for not accepting certain communications through Twitter...there was no Twitter!

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    Does the Constitution give the President the power to kick me out of his office? Don't remember reading that clause and enumerated powers and that.

    sarc

  • Rhywun||

    The government is not required to listen to or respond to petitions.

  • Eidde||

    I'm not so sure.

    The government isn't automatically required to *grant* every petition, to be sure.

    But it must at the very least *receive* a petition presented to it.

    The Gag Rule debate in slavery days ended in accepting that even "undesirable" petitions must be received by the government, even if the government has no intention of acting on the petition.

  • Eidde||

    Relevant to Twitter petitions:

    "Where is your law that says that the mean, the low, and the degraded, shall be deprived of the right of petition, if their moral character is not good? Where, in the land of freemen, was the right of petition ever placed on the exclusive basis of morality and virtue? Petition is supplication—it is entreaty—it is prayer! And where is the degree of vice or immorality which shall deprive the citizen of the right to supplicate for a boon, or to pray for mercy? Where is such a law to be found? It does not belong to the most abject despotism. There is no absolute monarch on earth who is not compelled, by the constitution of his country, to receive the petitions of his people, whosoever they may be. The Sultan of Constantinople cannot walk the streets and refuse to receive petitions from the meanest and vilest in the land. This is the law even of despotism; and what does your law say? Does it say, that, before presenting a petition, you shall look into it and see whether it comes from the virtuous, and the great, and the mighty? No, sir; it says no such thing. The right of petition belongs to all; and so far from refusing to present a petition because it might come from those low in the estimation of the world, it would be an additional incentive, if such an incentive were wanting."

    /John Quincy Adams

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    "I'm not so sure."

    For what that's worth.

    Listen, you seem to be missing a glaring problem with your argument. They are still able to exercise their right to petition, they just aren't going to be able to use Twitter.

    There is no right to petition through a preferred method.

  • Eidde||

    Let me put it this way: There's no power in the government to limit petitions to preferred methods or people.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    Which changes nothing about my response. You can still petition. You can't write it on Melania's titties.

  • Eidde||

    I wonder why that didn't occur to me...but I think that comes under bona fide security restrictions.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    So, if someone bought time on public access tv, to petition Trump, he would be required to watch?

  • StackOfCoins||

    Congress must amend this grievance at once.

  • StackOfCoins||

    In response to the fact I cannot petition using Melania's tits, I mean.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    I'm in.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Does this mean that presidents are legally required to give everyone their private phone number? I'm not trying to be flip; if I understand correctly Trump's Twitter account is his, not the U.S. government's.

  • Eidde||

    If he's acting in a private capacity, then he can do as he pleases.

    My understanding was that he was using Twitter to communicate his ideas about federal policy to the voters...probably tipping it over the line into government action.

    Though unlike some, I recognize that opinions different from mine may be held in good faith.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    This is just baffling to old farts like me who didn't have Twitter back in the dark old days; we had to write letters on paper. So I don't see how not having unfettered access to every possible means of communication is a rights violation.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    I also wonder if someone doesn't have a smartphone or some other device with access to Twitter, are they being denied their 1st Amendment rights? Is the government obliged to give them a smartphone?

  • Eidde||

    There's the distinction between govt and private action.

  • Sigivald||

    True.

    But the power to petition the government is not "the power to directly speak to the President", either.

    Before Twitter and such, the President didn't have to read every letter someone sent him, either.

    (People still have a Congressman and Senator, no? The ability to write a letter to the Executive, if they believe the Executive is somehow appropriate [retake civics, guys]?

    "But I can't reply to or tag the President's account on Twitter!" is weakest possible Constitutional Issue Sauce.)

  • Eidde||

    I'm not talking about the issue the plaintiffs *raised,* I'm talking about the point they seem to be on the point of wrongly conceding - that the Pres can delete any of their petitions unread.

  • Chumby||

    If he blocks a user he isn't deleting their petitions. He's not getting them (vis Twitter).

  • Bubba Jones||

    Twitter is neither the only nor best way to petition the government.

  • Eidde||

    Marching on the sidewalk isn't the only or best way to peacefully assemble, either - does that mean there's no right to do it?

  • Chumby||

    Marching on a private sidewalk to peacefully assemble that is in earshot of a speech Trump is giving would be a more appropriate hypothetical.

  • DajjaI||

    Wrong. This would be a huge humiliation for him.

  • StackOfCoins||

    This would imply Trump has empathy.

  • ||

    He should make an offer to buy Twitter - on Twitter.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Would be interesting, though even with Twitter tumbling down down in value I'm not sure Trump has the money for it.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    "$500. Final offer. It's the best deal you're going to get, believe me."

  • General_Tso||

    Look, I'm going to call a buddy that is an expert on this stuff, he'll tell us what we really have here...

  • Eidde||

    General, you are a cruel warlord, but your chicken is delicious.

  • Bubba Jones||

    They don't care if Trump reads their tweets. They just want to be able to attach their tweets to his readership.

  • Chumby||

    Virtue tweeting

  • Sigivald||

    People who are blocked from following the president cannot see these messages

    Well, I mean, unless they ... log out from Twitter, or use a web browser where they aren't signed in.

    But, hey, "it's slightly less convenient for me to see the President Jaw-Jaw random nonsense" is obviously a Huge Constitutional Issue, right?

    One weeps for the Republic.

  • Eidde||

    So I learned something new today...by a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court watered down the petition clause of the First Amendment, enabling organized labor to have a monopoly in certain kinds of petitions to the government.

    I had thought that amending the First Amendment would require a vote in Congress or a convention, followed by ratifications in 3/4 of the states.

    But it seems that this is unnecessary so long as we have a Supreme Court willing to make amendments and carve out exceptions to our constitutional rights.

  • Eidde||

    Incidentally, the various RFRAs passed by Congress and the states after the *Smith* decision (Scalia's worst mistake) show that the Supreme Court doesn't get the last word on the First Amendment.

    But we already knew that, since the Supreme Court constantly overrules itself after the President and Senate change its personnel.

  • RaymondhW||

    It's kind of obvious they have to limit it. We have 300 million people 100,000+ which fanatically hate any sitting president. They could spam petition any president 24/7 so they were incapable of any action. The question then becomes how much are they limited. Even if I was to accept they need to take twitter petitions as there is a POTUS account they clearly can. If you mail trump stuff to his resort instead of 1600 oppression ave it getting returned is on you.

  • Eidde||

    I believe that the Pres and the Congresscritters have software that can analyze petitions by such things as subject lines, keywords and the like - meaning they don't have to read every petition, just get an analysis of the gist.

    "You got a million messages supporting HR 123 and two hundred thousand messages against, the other messages I can't categorize so I'll file them under miscellaneous."

  • Eidde||

    To use JQ Adams' example of pressing a petition into the Sultan's hand while he's on his daily walk, that doesn't mean the Sultan has to drop everything and read the petition from beginning to end. He could have one of the Grand Vizier's aides scan it ("Oh, they're complaining about taxes again, sucks to be them, I guess").

  • Eman||

    Its kind of insane it took us 250 years to even have a discussion about the citizenry's right to do whatever it is you do with twitter, without being blocked by the president, but what else could you expect from a bunch of dead straight white guys, really? Its a micro scandal.

  • Eidde||

    "Its a micro scandal."

    You're thinking about the Stormy Daniels situation.

    Hey-o!

  • Empress Trudy||

    CNN: Trump flies off the handle. Impeach him.
    CNN: Trump doesn't respond to our screeching. Impeach him.

  • Facebollywood||

    This is something that suggestion I am hearing for the first time. Note it this is not from some common man but from the judge.

    This advice can be followed by others also who are fade up with their online hatred they can also behave the way judge suggested.

    Although funny but useful suggestion!!!

  • sweettea71||

    Was this lifted from the Onion?

  • damikesc||

    So, when Twitter blocks conservatives for no reason, isn't Twitter violating their rights?

    They are even MORE unable to petition the government in that case.

  • Eman||

    I dont think our founding parents, whatever else you want to say about them, thought we'd ever get our heads quite this far up our own asses. dead white dudes, am i right?

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    Gee, I guess they repealed that Separation of Powers thingie?

  • Chris Cat||

    I love Reason but this article is a little obtuse. The President uses Twitter for what are effectively official communications. Therefore everybody has a right to read them without intermediaries (who are undoubtedly selecting from them, if not misrepresenting them or their context in a stream of tweets.) The President doesn't read everybody's communication by twitter, web, mail or skywriting. He has other things to do. There is no "pretense" to this. Nor does he have to host unwelcome viewpoints. Muting IS the appropriate solution to this problem as it allows reading the President's tweets but not effective posting or harassment. Why make it sound like there is some problem with this solution? (It makes me think of libertarianism being correlated by autism. But autism has some terrific traits http://www.autismsupportnetwor.....e-92003432 which I would be proud to possess, so perhaps here I just mean, yes, obtuse.)

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