Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP) filed a 26-page brief on behalf of seven law professors and legal experts Monday in support of the Columbia Knight First Amendment Institute’s lawsuit against President Trump for blocking his critics and opponents from commenting on his Twitter account, saying “such practices are a familiar playbook for authoritarian regimes” that seek to create the “false impression that political leaders are adored by the public” by silencing opposing views.
The group, which includes Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California Berkeley School of Law, said “such practices are a familiar playbook for authoritarian regimes.”
“False impression that political leaders are adored by the public is critical to warping the public’s understanding of how those leaders are really viewed by the public and, in turn, to quashing democratic impulses,” they wrote.
“These efforts harm the blocked users by denying them the opportunity to participate fully in the rapid, ongoing conversations occurring on social media,” they added.
“But more fundamentally, efforts to block users based on their criticism of the government threaten the very dangers that the First Amendment’s ban on viewpoint discrimination seeks to prevent: allowing the government to silence its critics, foster warped perceptions of officials’ popularity, and chill dissenting voices who may avoid speaking out for fear of reprisal.”
The Hill added:
The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University filed the lawsuit in July on behalf of seven people who were blocked from the president’s @realDonaldTrump account, preventing them from viewing or replying to his tweets or viewing and participating in discussions associated with his tweets.
Because Trump and his aides have made clear that they consider statements published on @realDonaldTrump to be official statements, the Knight First Amendment Institute argues the president has imposed an unconstitutional restriction on the plaintiffs’ participation in a designated public forum, right to access statements that defendants are otherwise making available to the public at large and right to petition the government for redress of grievances.