SCOTUS: Public Officials Who Block People Can Be Sued Maybe

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A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Friday that public officials can sometimes be sued for blocking their critics on social media. This issue began with then-President Trump blocking or muting some nasty social media comments.

The court establishes a new test for lower courts to determine if a public official’s speech is a “state action,” writing they must “possess the authority to speak for the state” and “purport to exercise that authority.”

This could also mean that some of Trump’s J6 tweets come under immunity, which is what Jack Smith is using to prove Trump incited the riot.

The cases they took up involved California school board members and a city manager in Port Huron, Michigan.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, writing for the court, said that officials who use personal accounts to make official statements may not be free to delete comments about those statements or block critics altogether.

On the other hand, Barrett wrote, “State officials have private lives and their own constitutional rights.” That sounds like a mixed message.

The cases are similar to those of Donald Trump.

TV host Shawn Farash wrote on X:

This is big, especially in Trump’s DC case. As @KurtSchlichter noted recently, this could mean that many of Trump’s tweets cited in the J6 indictment could be covered under immunity because they would be deemed “official acts.”

Does it follow that conservatives can sue social media platforms for blocking or muting them?


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