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Augustus 11 @Augustus709
, 9 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
A Quick First Amendment Primer Thread

1. Does Twitter violate the 1st A when it bans users for their tweets? NO.
2. Does the NFL violate the 1st A when it bans kneeling? NO.
3. Does trump violate the 1st A when he blocks users? YES (for now)

#RBA⚖️
#GeeksResist
#RebelScum
The key to understanding these three answers is that the First Amendment only applies to the GOVERNMENT, not to private actors.

The 1A states that "CONGRESS shall make no law...abridging freedom of speech."

It also applies to state and local govts.
The 1A does not apply to private actors, and so they can ban speech that the gov't cannot.

So, a college student attending UC Berkeley has 1A speech rights b/c Berkeley is a state school.

But, a college student attending Harvard, a private school, does not.
With that in mind, let's turn to the three examples.

1. When Twitter bans or suspends a user for harassment, the 1A doesn't apply at all. Twitter is a private entity and so does not have to comply with the 1A.

You have no constitutional right to tweet.
2. When the NFL bans players from kneeling in protest, it can do so, because the NFL is a private corporation and the 1A doesn't apply to it.

Yes, NFL players have a 1A right to protest, BUT, that means Congress cannot ban kneeling by players. The NFL can.
3. Here's the tricky example-does trump violate the 1A when he blockes users?
According to a federal court, the answer is YES.

trump violates the 1A when he blocks people and prevents them from tweeting or replying to him.
In a ruling handed down today, the federal District Court held that because trump conducts presidential duties and business via his twitter account, the account is *government* controlled "property" and a "public forum" subject to the First Amendment.
While you a private citizen can block whomever you want, trump, by virtue of his office and how he's using his account, is prevented by the 1A from suppressing speech by users.

We'll see how this question gets answered on appeal.

All clear? 😉

/End
Here's a link to the District Court decision:

knightcolumbia.org/sites/default/…
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