All Public Forums / Social Media Should Be Open & Uncensored

Trump should embrace (and expand) court ruling that his Twitter account is free speech forum.

Free Speech
All Public Forums / Social Media Should Be Open & Uncensored

USA – -(Ammoland.com)- President Trump may not block even rude or obnoxious criticism from his Twitter account, because it is a public forum that is protected by the First Amendment, US District Court Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald has ruled.

The President’s use of his Twitter account to comment on important policy, personnel and personal announcements made it a public forum, akin to a park or town square, she concluded.

Blocking unwanted tweets is thus viewpoint discrimination, which public officials are not permitted to engage in. Indeed, his Twitter account is not just a public forum. It is also “government space,” and thus may not be closed off, Judge Buchwald continued – rejecting a Justice Department argument that, since Twitter is a public company, it is beyond the reach of First Amendment public forum rules.

Free speech proponents hailed the ruling as a groundbreaking decision, saying it expands constitutional protections deep within the realms of social media. The executive director of Georgetown Law School’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection called it “a critical victory in preserving free speech in the digital age.” Blocking people from responding critically to presidential tweets is unconstitutional, because it prevents them from participating personally and directly in that forum, others said.

The Justice Department said it disagreed with the decision and was considering its next steps.

Here’s another option: Embrace and expand on the decision. Assess how these District Court principles and free speech guidelines can be applied in other vital free speech arenas. Take it as far as you can.

Some will then predictably want to construe the decision narrowly, saying it applies only to government officials, perhaps especially conservatives who support this president. Conservatives, the White House and the Trump Administration should not feel bound by such partisan, self-serving assertions.

As Supreme Court and numerous lower court decisions have interpreted the Civil Rights Act and other laws, no person may employ race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, disability status or other categories, to discriminate in admissions, hiring or anything else under any program or activity receiving any form of federal financial assistance, including loans or scholarships. Those that do discriminate will lose their Internal Revenue Service non-profit status and their government funding.

Should that list of categories not include one of the most vital and fundamental civil rights of all – the one addressed and protected by the very first amendment to the United States Constitution? The right of free speech and free assembly, especially regarding one’s beliefs, interests and political viewpoints, and one’s ability to participate in discourse and debate over important political and public policy matters?

Our colleges and universities were once society’s crucible for developing and thrashing out ideas. Sadly, as anyone with a milligram of brain matter realizes, they have become bastions of one-sided ideological propaganda and intolerance. Every conceivable element of “diversity” is permitted and encouraged – nay, demanded – except for our most fundamental civil right of personal views, free speech and robust debate.

That right now applies only to liberal-progressive-leftist views and ideologies. Anything that challenges or questions those teachings is vilified, denounced and silenced, often violently – as being hurtful, hateful, objectionable or intolerable to liberals. Faculty members are hired, protected, promoted or fired based on their social, scientific or political beliefs. Viewpoint discrimination, bullying and mobbing are rampant.

It’s time for pushback.

Judicial and Executive Branch decisions and guidelines hold that even private universities that receive federal money for faculty research, student loans and scholarships, or campus facilities, are subject to Civil Rights Act rules. Presidents, administrators and faculty members of public universities are arguably public officials. Campuses and classrooms are clearly public forums.

If they tolerate or encourage viewpoint bullying, mobbing or violence, they are violating the civil rights of students, professors and speakers whose views have been deemed inappropriate, discomforting, hurtful or intolerable to the fragile sensitivities of climate alarmist, pro-abortion, atheist and other liberal factions.

Judge Buchwald’s ruling and the reactions of free speech advocates provide useful guidelines to buttress this approach. The Trump Administration, state attorneys general and free-speech/individual rights advocates should apply them to help restore intellectual rigor and open discourse to our campuses.

The ruling and reactions could also help expand constitutional protections even more deeply in the realms of digital age social media. As they suggest, today’s most popular social media sites have become our most vibrant and essential public forums: today’s parks, town squares and town halls. People, especially millennials, rely on them for news, information and opinions, often as substitutes for print, radio and television (and classrooms). But they now seem far better at censorship than at education or discussion.

Google algorithms increasingly and systematically send climate realism [and pro gun or second amendment] articles to intellectual Siberia. Unless you enter very specific search terms (author’s name, article title and unique wording), those sly algorithms make it difficult or impossible to find articles expressing non-alarmist viewpoints.

Google thus allies with the manmade climate cataclysm establishment – which has received billions of taxpayer dollars from multiple government agencies, but has blocked Climate Armageddon skeptics from getting articles published in scientific journals that often publish papers that involve hidden data, computer codes and other work. Even worse, it facilitates repeated threats that skeptics should be jailed (Bill Nye the Science Guy and RFK Jr.), prosecuted under RICOracketeering laws (Senators Warren and Whitehouse), or even executed (University of Graz, Austria Professor Richard Parncutt).

Google is a private entity, there are other search engines, and those seeking complete, honest research results should see if those alternatives are any better. But there is something repugnant about mankind’s vast storehouses of information being controlled by hyper-partisan techies, in league with equally partisan university, deep state, deep media, hard green and other über-liberal, intolerant elements of our society.

YouTube Singles Out Gun Channels For Special Exclusion / Discrimination
YouTube Singles Out Gun Channels For Special Exclusion / Discrimination

Meanwhile, Google YouTube continues to use its power and position to block posting of and access to equally important information, including over 40 well-crafted, informative, carefully researched Prager University videos – because they contain what YouTube reviewers (censors) decreed is “objectionable content” on current events, history, constitutional principles, environmental topics and public policies.

Scholar-educator Dennis Prager sued YouTube for closing down yet another vital public forum to views that question, contest or simply fail to pay homage to liberal ideologies and agendas.

District Court Judge Lucy Koh concluded that YouTube did indeed apply vague standards and the arbitrary judgments of a few employees, and did indeed discriminate against Prager U by denying it access to this popular social media platform and digital public forum. However, she ruled that Google YouTube is a private company, and thus is under no obligation to be fair, to apply its services equally, or to refrain from imposing penalties on viewpoints with which its partisan officers and employees disagree.

In other words, YouTube may operate as a public forum but it is a private business and thus may discriminate as it wishes – since it does not bake cakes or provide food or overnight accommodations … or deal with any civil rights that Judge Koh would include among protected constitutional rights.

These actions are the hallmarks of communist, fascist and other totalitarian regimes that seek to control all thought, speech, economic activity and other aspects of our lives. They drive policies that further limit our freedoms, kill countless jobs, and cost us billions or trillions of dollars in lost productivity.

The Left is clearly afraid of conservative ideas and principles. It refuses to participate in discussions or debates that it might lose, and instead resorts to mobbing, bullying and violence to silence our voices.

Up to now, lower courts have not always been supportive of the analysis and prescriptions presented in this article. But appellate courts and the Supreme Court have yet to weigh in on the Trump Twitter, Prager YouTube, Google search bias and similar cases. So we are still in uncharted territory.

Conservatives, second amendment activists, climate chaos skeptics and true free speech advocates should build their own social media forums – while helping to create the legal precedents that will protect our hard-won rights and freedoms, and exposing, ridiculing, embarrassing and challenging the dominance of the Intolerant Left.


Paul Driessen
Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen, JD is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of books and articles on energy and environmental science and policy.

  • 12 thoughts on “All Public Forums / Social Media Should Be Open & Uncensored

    1. The first amendment only applies to censorship that is perpetrated by government actors, and there’s really no wiggle room when a judge is asked to decide if the president’s social media presence falls under that category. Like it or not, it’s pretty cut and dried.

      1. It’s his personal twitter and not the Whitehouse presidential twitter page. I think he should be able to block his personal page and not the Whitehouse one. No private person or entity is required to observe free speech and can deny access in alot of cases as long as it’s not discriminatory.

    2. If trump can’t block people from his private acct because of public policy discussions that take place on it I don’t see how Google and youtube can block any gun content considering how much the 2nd amendment is in the public policy discussions. They are restricting our viewpoints from being heard. The judges own words were something like since public policy was discussed there it made it a public forum like a park or townhall. You can’t block the public from those and Google and youtube even though they are privately owned they have set a precedent by allowing it to become a digital public forum or park or town hall. They are doing exactly what trump was just told he can’t do. This could be huge in stopping censorship of gun content or any other subjects the left tries to block access to.

      1. You raise an interesting point. Google/YouTube aren’t bound by first amendment issues, so public forum or not, unless a government official is holding that forum on their “stage”, it doesn’t fall under first amendment protections… but if “net neutrality” were reinforced instead of repealed, then there might be some arguments to be made. If internet access is more significant than a commodity, and represents a fundamental public resource, limitations and denials of that resource will be less susceptible to the discretionary whims of theses businesses.

        1. I agree that Google and youtube are not bound by 1st amendment but neither should trump be on his personal twitter page just because he discusses policy and current political subjects on it. He doesnt set policy on there or take suggestions or have meetings with other policy makers where they go back and forth to decide policy. Trump just talks alot on there about everything. I don’t think he even reads many responses. The judge is saying that his personal twitter has become a govt entity bound by free speech and equal access to all because of subject material so I would think other non govt forums should have to follow the same rules when they discuss policy or govt issues on their pages, forums, and other digital townhall like places. If they don’t they are doing exactly what trump was just told he couldn’t do.

    3. DOUBLE STANDARD ?…I see where hiLAIRy says her dream job would be to run facebook , so she could control the flow of information !

      1. @OV, I am hoping that she gets to control the flow of information at the federal prison library in Oakdale, La. Stamping due dates in books would be a nice way for her to pay the American taxpayer back. We’ll see what kind of private server she gets there!
        Big scratch for Sammy.

    4. All Twitter, Facebook, and any other form of this bullshit should be shut down. Period. Buy a newspaper. This is not free speech it is free crap. I managed very nicely to get through the first 50 years of life without Facebook, without a computer for that matter. Talk to a live person, it can be fun.

    5. Brace yourselves for the “common sense” arguments for restrictions on free speech to be thrown at those demanding an equitable application of the ruling by liberal elitists and their hired trolls, but somehow “common sense” always seems to mute any speech not vetted and approved by socialist orchestration committees and the “algorithms” they write to exclude or mute all thoughts they deem inappropriate for dissemination to their public.

    6. ALL forums or all LEGAL forums? Because child molestors, terrorist, arsonist, cartels, necrophiliacs etc all have forums and social media accounts.
      Every one of them is on Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook.

    7. Now it’s time to start demanding that responses on Twitter and Facebook to pages run by Moms Demand and Everytown be forced to stop blocking 2A realist viewpoints.

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