A group of Twitter users blocked by President Trump have filed a lawsuit against him, saying it is unconstitutional for him to block his critics on the social media platform.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and the White House director of social media Dan Scavino are also listed as defendants.
The lawsuit was filed in the Southern District of New York on Tuesday by seven individual defendants and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.
They argue that Twitter is a public forum under the First Amendment and that since official government announcements are done through the president’s Twitter (@realDonaldTrump), his tweets should be accessible to everyone.
“Twitter enables ordinary citizens to speak directly to public officials and to listen to and debate others about public issues, in much the same way they could if they were gathered on a sidewalk or in a public park, or at a city council meeting or town hall,” the lawsuit said.
The suit also cites the advice of The National Archives and Records Administration which says the White House must preserve the tweets under the Presidential Records Act. It also noted that Federal agencies and courts treat Trump’s tweets as official statements.
Other evidence provided in the suit includes Trump’s July 2nd tweet which reads: “My use of social media is not Presidential — it’s MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL.”
It also quoted Sean Spicer who had said at a press conference that Trump’s tweets should be understood as “official statements of the President of the United States.”
The lawsuit follows a letter sent by the plaintiffs to the White House last month asking the president to unblock people. The White House did not respond to the letter.
The Twitter users blocked by President Trump are now asking a judge to make the President and his media team unblock them and restrict them from blocking anyone in the future as it is a viewpoint-based restriction the U.S. Constitution frowns upon.
Twitter has not yet commented on the lawsuit.