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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Will @DrJillStein stand with @realDonaldTrump against the 1st Amendment?

Readers of this blog during our most recent presidential election know I expressed a strong opinion about Jill Stein and her Green Party run for the White House, and while I was never abusive, I wasn't necessarily kind. The Linux Beach introduction to her was Meet Green Party's Jill Stein, Putin sock-puppet & Assad apologistI argued Why Green Party's Jill Stein should drop her presidential bid, and as the vote drew close I warned prophetically, Donald Trump can only win if Jill Stein stays in. She did, and he did. When he won, I published @DrJillStein now officially 'the Ralph Nader of 2016'.

In the middle of this election season, Dr. Jill Stein tired of my critique, and so in lieu of a rebuttal, she just blocked me on Twitter. At the time I thought that was so wrong! She wasn't just another private citizen with a personal account on Twitter. She was a national presidential candidate. She had even received millions of federal dollars, my tax dollars, to fund her campaign. It didn't seem right that she could block me, given her public stature, but I didn't have the resources to defend my 1st amendment rights in court. It was just another Jill Stein tactic that mirrored those of Putin and Trump, and I'd heard I wasn't the only one she had blocked.

You are blocked from following @DrJillStein and viewing @DrJillStein's Tweets.
Like @DrJillStein, @realDonaldTrump thinks he can just block people he doesn't want to hear from. Yesterday the Federal Courts found this practice unconstitutional. The Verge is reporting:
Trump blocking Twitter critics is unconstitutional, court decides

23 May, 2018
By Colin Lecher
It is unconstitutional for public officials, including the president, to block Twitter followers who criticize them, a court ruled today in a legal dispute over President Trump’s account.

“This case requires us to consider whether a public official may, consistent with the First Amendment, ‘block’ a person from his Twitter account in response to the political views that person has expressed, and whether the analysis differs because that public official is the President of the United States,” the decision begins. “The answer to both questions is no.” The lawsuit, brought by Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute, argued that Twitter users blocked by @realdonaldtrump had their First Amendment rights violated. In a decision released today, a federal judge hearing the case ruled that Twitter’s “interactive space,” where users can interact with Trump’s tweets, qualifies as a public forum, and that blocking users unconstitutionally restricts their speech. The decision rejected arguments from the president’s team that President Trump’s own First Amendment rights would be violated if he could not block users. More...
While Dr. Jill Stein may never be a public official, she has never stopped aspiring to be one. I would argue that the same criteria should apply to public candidates for official positions.

It remains to be seen if Dr. Jill Stein will respect the court's ruling or whether the people she has banned will have to ourselves ban together and sue Jill Stein, citing this ruling against the president as precedent.

Clay Claiborne

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