After a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday on First Amendment grounds that President Trump could not block Twitter users, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) found herself on the receiving end of a couple of lawsuits on the same grounds.
One is from a New York Democrat.
The Hill reports:
One former Democratic state lawmaker and one Republican congressional hopeful announced this week that they are suing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) over being blocked from her personal Twitter account.
Former state assemblyman Dov Hikind (D) and congressional candidate Joseph Saladino, who is running in a Republican primary for the chance to battle Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.), announced lawsuits this week against the freshman Democratic congresswoman, seeking injunctive relief in the form of a court order demanding they be unblocked.
Saladino posted an announcement about his lawsuit on Twitter:
I have officially filed my lawsuit against AOC for blocking me on twitter.
Trump is not allowed to block people, will the standards apply equally?
Stay tuned to find out! pic.twitter.com/0RmHI7x9Qc
— Saladino for Congress (@JoeySalads) July 9, 2019
Fox News reports that Dov Hikind said in a statement announcing his lawsuit that Ocasio-Cortez had blocked him earlier this week:
“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has blocked me on Twitter yesterday apparently because my critique of her tweets and policies have been too stinging,” Hikind said in a statement announcing the suit, which was filed in the Eastern District of New York and obtained by Fox News.
“Just today the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a ruling that elected officials cannot block individuals from their Twitter accounts, thereby setting a precedent that Ocasio-Cortez must follow,” he added. “Twitter is a public space, and all should have access to the government officials on it.”
The First Amendment prohibits discrimination by government actors against a person’s free speech based on his or her viewpoints.
Hikind continued: “It’s unclear if Ocasio-Cortez is aware of this ruling or not, but either way, I have decided, after speaking with my legal counsel, to initiate a lawsuit against her for blocking me and a host of other public figures. Ocasio-Cortez is acting cowardly and should be ashamed of her attempts to silence me. I’ve done nothing but address her ignorance and disregard for the truth. She constantly brags about the millions of followers she has but is afraid of my speech. She is a hypocrite.
Hikind posted a screenshot Tuesday showing that Ocasio-Cortez had blocked him:
— Dov Hikind (@HikindDov) July 9, 2019
Today, he blasted other Democrats who have swooped in to defend AOC:
It’s ironic for someone claiming to fight for equality to absolve an elected official of their responsibilities simply because she’s a woman. That’s bigotry of low expectations. I think she’s just as qualified as a man to handle critique!#DemocracyIsNotHarassment https://t.co/EiyjLSl0CG
— Dov Hikind (@HikindDov) July 10, 2019
While legal eagles have commenced penning pieces on why the federal appeals court ruling was right or wrong, my personal opinion on the matter is the same as it was when I was asked about the issue by the Raleigh News and Observer back in January:
Stacey Matthews, a conservative blogger from Charlotte who tweets from the account @sistertoldjah, said she was blocked by several Democratic state legislators who are no longer in office, as well as by some former candidates. She doesn’t have an issue with politicians deploying the block button online.
“Social media has become a pretty vile, cut-throat style place, and if you’re a woman, that’s especially true,” she said in a Twitter message. “Female politicians shouldn’t have to be subjected to the vulgar things people will sometimes tweet to them.
“And just because a person may be blocked by a politician on social media, it doesn’t mean the lines of communication are cut off. They still have the standard options of email, phone, and mail which, I think, are more productive means of connecting with your elected officials anyway.”
That being said, if Trump has to play by the rules set by the courts on this, then it only makes sense that other politicians – including AOC – would have to as well.
Though the block option appears to be off limits for now for Trump, the mute option is still on the table.
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –