Federal Judge Rules: Way Trump Uses Twitter Is Illegal

by George Upper


There’s been a lot of theorizing about the effect of social media on the 2016 presidential election, most of it — in the establishment media, anyway — focused on how Donald Trump’s campaign, with or without the help of the Russians, “stole” the election from Hillary Clinton by selectively planting “fake news” on Facebook.

But Trump’s social media advantage during the campaign was never on Facebook; it was always on Twitter, from his announcement through the election and inauguration.

And, while it wasn’t obvious at the time, that’s when swamp water began seeping into Trump’s online presence, with the ultimate result being that federal judge ruled Wednesday that President Donald Trump cannot block users from access to his Twitter account without violating the First Amendment to the Constitution after seven plaintiffs — we don’t have their names, but I’m guessing they don’t hail from right-of-center heartland America — sued over the practice.

The judge ruled that, because blocking accounts that disagree with him on Twitter prevents those users from expressing their disagreement with him on what was essentially a public forum amounted to government suppression of their right to free speech, according to The New York Times.

Now, given the circumstances, the judge could hardly have decided anything differently. It’s not the judge in the wrong here; it’s the circumstances surrounding the judge’s decision.

Essentially, Federal District Court Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald ruled that, because Trump and Dan Scavino, the White House social media director, “exert governmental control over certain aspects of the @realDonaldTrump account,” the account is an official government account and blocking the seven plaintiffs from it because of their political views violated their First Amendment rights. 

Again, that’s true. But that’s not the problem.  The problem is that this should never have been an “official government account” in the first place. 

Donald Trump — with the help of media experts in his employ, one would imagine — built his following on Twitter long before he ever ran for office, and he continued to build it — and expertly so — during his campaign.  If the account had remained under his personal control, he could block or not block anyone he chose.

But that’s not what happened.

“The viewpoint-based exclusion of the individual plaintiffs from that designated public forum is proscribed by the First Amendment and cannot be justified by the president’s personal First Amendment interests,” the judge, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1999, wrote in her decision.  The White House is apparently considering an appeal, although the basis for such an action was not mentioned and remains unclear, given the present circumstances.  

“We respectfully disagree with the court’s decision and are considering our next steps,” said the Justice Department, which is representing the president in the case.

‘The right thing for the president and his social media director to do would be to log into the president’s account and unblock everyone who has been blocked on the basis of viewpoint,” said Jameel Jaffer, the plaintiffs’ attorney and the executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute, which joined the case as a plaintiff itself.

The court, however, did not order the president to take such an action which would, on the face of it, appear to mean that any government employee or elected official with a social media account funded with taxpayer money would have to take the same action or face similar lawsuits.  Again, since White House staffers became involved, free speech is a legitimate issue in this case. But was it really necessary for that to happen? Isn’t the president’s Twitter account really that, a personal account?  

And the president should be able to communicate directly with the American people without the intervention of federal bureaucrats. Shouldn’t he?

The court, however, did not order the president to take such an action which would, on the face of it, appear to mean that any government employee or elected official with a social media account funded with taxpayer money would have to take the same action or face similar lawsuits.  Again, since White House staffers became involved, free speech is a legitimate issue in this case. But was it really necessary for that to happen? Isn’t the president’s Twitter account really that, a personal account? 

And the president should be able to communicate directly with the American people without the intervention of federal bureaucrats. Shouldn’t he?


Alert: Fed Court Says Criticism of Islam Can Be Punished

by Benjamin Arie

 

The First Amendment guarantees that the government cannot suppress free speech or favor a religion — but a court in New Jersey is violating both of those promises.

According to a report from the Thomas More Law Center, residents of Bernards Township, New Jersey, have been banned from bringing up the topic of Muslims or Islam at an upcoming public hearing.

That public forum is intended to determine whether a mosque should be built in the community.  You read that right: Authorities have essentially banned citizens from uttering the words “Muslim” or “Islam” at a public debate that centers on that very religion.   The controversy is focused on a settlement order from a district court, which appears to blatantly violate free speech protections “ No commentary regarding Islam or Muslims will be permitted,” states a legally binding court order about the mosque hearing.

That public forum is intended to determine whether a mosque should be built in the community.  You read that right: Authorities have essentially banned citizens from uttering the words “Muslim” or “Islam” at a public debate that centers on that very religion.   The controversy is focused on a settlement order from a district court, which appears to blatantly violate free speech protections “ No commentary regarding Islam or Muslims will be permitted,” states a legally binding court order about the mosque hearing.

Violators, it seems clear, will be punished by being prohibited from speaking. It’s a tactic that smacks of the Shariah-controlled lands of the Middle East, or other totalitarian societies like communist nations under Soviet domination — not an American township in the state of New Jersey.

In response to the controversial order, the Thomas More Law Center has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Christopher and Loretta Quick, who live just 200 feet away from the proposed mosque site.

“TMLC’s lawsuit alleges that Bernards Township’s settlement agreement constitutes a prior restraint on speech based on content, as well as, a violation of the (First Amendment) Establishment Clause because it prefers Islam over other religions,” the law center explained.    The lawsuit claims that preventing local citizens from voicing their concerns about the “Islamic” nature of the mosque is not only unfair, but also unconstitutional.

“The Quicks reside within 200 feet of the proposed mosque construction in a zoned residential area. Yet, the settlement agreement prohibits them from describing the many unique features of Islamic worship,” the Thomas More Law Center stated.

Additionally, the lawsuit argues that the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, or “ISBR,” is permitted to make any sort of comments about Jews or Christians without restriction, but the government is actively suppressing free speech in the other direction.  “While claiming that the ownship had a religious animus against Muslims, ISBR hid from the public view its animus toward Christians and Jews, by not only hiding anti-Christian and anti-Semitic verses published on its website, but also hiding its significant ties to ISNA [Islamic Society of North America],” attorney Richard Thompson explained in a news release.

“Instead of standing up to defend its citizens against ISBR’s hate-filled anti-Semitic and anti-Christian bias, the Township colluded with ISBR’s ‘Civilization Jihad’ by capitulating to payment of millions of dollars to ISBR, allowing the constructon of the new mosque and Islamic center in violation of zoning codes, and now even suppressing speech concerning Islam or Muslims at a public meeting,” Thompson continued.

True enough, the court-ordered settlement which forbids citizens from bringing up their concerns about Islam is clearly printed for anyone to see.  The free discussion of ideas, even if they are critical or controversial, is one of the fundamentals of American liberty.  After all, the First Amendment wouldn’t be necessary at all if everyone shared identical opinions. Protecting the right to hold views with which some group — or the government — disagrees  is the very reason speech protections exist in the first place.

It is hard to imagine the Founding Fathers forbidding the open debate of a specific topic.

Hopefully, freedom of speech will prevail… or our country may have deeper problems than we realize. 

Please share this article on Facebook if you believe that free speech is an unalienable right!



The Impartial Power Of God

by Oswald Chambers

To be an Uncommon Believer….Let the “First Voice” You Hear in the Morning….Be the Voice of the LORD

"For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." Hebrews 10:14

We trample the blood of the Son of God under foot if we think we are forgiven because we are sorry for our sins. The only explanation of the forgiveness of God and of the unfathomable depth of His forgetting is the Death of Jesus Christ. Our repentance is merely the outcome of our personal realization of the Atonement which He has worked out for us. "Christ Jesus . . . is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." When we realize that Christ is made all this to us, the boundless joy of God begins; wherever the joy of God is not present, the death sentence is at work.


It does not matter who or what we are, there is absolute reinstatement into God by the death of Jesus Christ and by no other way, not because Jesus Christ pleads, but because He died. It is not earned, but accepted. All the pleading which deliberately refuses to recognize the Cross is of no avail; it is battering at another door than the one which Jesus has opened. I don't want to come that way, it is too humiliating to be received as a sinner. "There is none other Name . . ." The apparent heartlessness of God is the expression of His real heart, there is boundless entrance in His way. "We have forgiveness through His blood." Identification with the death of Jesus Christ means identification with Him to the death of everything that never was in Him.

God is justified in saving bad men only as He makes them good. Our Lord does not pretend we are all right when we are all wrong. The Atonement is a propitiation whereby God through the death of Jesus makes an unholy man holy.

When we know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, it means we are free from anxiety, free from carefulness, so that, during the twenty-four hours of the day, we do what we ought to do all the time, with the strength of life bubbling up with real spontaneous joy.