The end of the Donald Trump presidency and the end of Twitter @realDonaldTrump about two weeks earlier, the Justice Department withdrew its request for the Supreme Court to hear a Case regarding Trump’s blocking of criticism on the social network.
The case was originally filed in July 2017 by the Knight First Amendment Institute on behalf of seven people who were blocked by the then president after criticizing him in replies to tweets.
However, despite the fact that the case no longer involves a sitting president or an active Twitter account, the Knight Institute urged the Supreme Court to uphold the appeals court ruling that the DOJ was trying to convince him to ‘to cancel.
Executive Director of the Knight Institute Jameel jaffer, who argued the case before the Second Circuit, said in a statement Thursday: “The Justice Department is right in saying that the case is moot, but it is wrong about the reason. The case is moot because President Trump’s repeated violation of Twitter’s terms of service has led the company to shut down its account and ban it permanently from its platform. Because it was President Trump’s willful actions that rendered the case moot, the Supreme Court should leave the appeals court ruling in effect.
Senior lawyer Katie Fallow, who argued the case in district court, added, “The Supreme Court should reject the Trump administration’s latest efforts to overturn the Second Circuit ruling. But the truth is, the ruling will continue to shape the way public servants use social media even if they are canceled. Many other courts have now adopted the Second Circuit framework. And it is now widely recognized that the principles we established in this case are important to protect the vitality of the public forums that are increasingly important to our democracy.
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in May 2018 that Trump’s Twitter account was a public form under the First Amendment and that his blocking of users based on their views was unconstitutional.
A panel of three unanimous Second Circuit judges upheld the ruling in July 2019, and that same court rejected a request by the Trump administration for a full tribunal review in March 2020.
The administration then filed a petition with the Supreme Court in August 2020, but the DOJ filed its brief acknowledging the case had become moot on January 19.