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Federal court rules President Trump can't block Twitter critics — so former state official says he's suing AOC over same issue


Dov Hikind is planning to file the suit against U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a fellow New York Democrat

Photographer: Kevin Dietsch/Pool via Bloomberg (left); Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images (right)

Since a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that President Donald Trump can't block critics from his Twitter account, a former New York state assemblyman said he's suing U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — a fellow New York Democrat — for the same thing, Fox News said.

What's the Trump background?

In Trump matter, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan upheld a lower court judge who said Trump violates the Constitution when he blocks critics, the Associated Press reported.

"The irony in all of this is that we write at a time in the history of this nation when the conduct of our government and its officials is subject to wide-open, robust debate," Circuit Judge Barrington D. Parker wrote on behalf of a three-judge panel, the AP said.

"This debate, as uncomfortable and as unpleasant as it frequently may be, is nonetheless a good thing," the 2nd Circuit added, according to the outlet. "In resolving this appeal, we remind the litigants and the public that if the First Amendment means anything, it means that the best response to disfavored speech on matters of public concern is more speech, not less."

Trump sports nearly 62 million followers on his @realDonaldTrump Twitter page.

Attorney Jennifer Utrecht argued for the president, the AP said, noting his Twitter account was created long before he became president and that he acts in a private capacity when he blocks individuals.

"Are you seriously urging us to believe that the president is not acting in his official capacity when he is tweeting?" Parker replied, according to the outlet. "Why isn't that just a quintessential First Amendment violation?"

The appeals court ruled that the First Amendment disallows a public official using a social media account for "all manner of official purposes" to exclude individuals because they disagree with the official, the AP said.

Who has Trump blocked?

More from the outlet:

Trump has been a social media pioneer among politicians, earning daily headlines from tweets that often start early in the morning.

His Twitter account has become a must-read forum for other world leaders and critics and fans, who witness Trump boasting of accomplishments, belittling opponents and blasting critical media coverage as "fake news."

Among individuals who were blocked from the account were author Stephen King and model Chrissy Teigen.

How did the Justice Department respond to the Trump ruling?

"We are disappointed with the court's decision and are exploring possible next steps," DOJ spokesperson Kelly Laco said in a statement, according to Fox News. "As we argued, President Trump's decision to block users from his personal twitter account does not violate the First Amendment."

What's the Ocasio-Cortez background?

Former New York state Assemblyman Dov Hikind told Fox News on Tuesday that Ocasio-Cortez uses her Twitter page "for political/policy commentary, so to shut a citizen off from her statements is a problem — as well as blocking me from petitioning her or seeking redress."

More from the network:

Fox News is told the lawsuit likely would focus on Ocasio-Cortez's popular and active @AOC account, which has more than 4.6 million followers. Ocasio-Cortez has maintained a much smaller and rarely used official account, @RepAOC, with only 171,000 followers, but has used her personal @AOC account to discuss politics and engage with constituents and colleagues regularly.

For example, the top post pinned to Ocasio-Cortez's @AOC feed on Tuesday stated, "A #GreenNewDeal is our plan for a world and a future worth fighting for." On July 5, she wrote to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, "Thank you, @SenSanders. It's an honor to work alongside you and the millions of other people fighting for education, healthcare, and a living wage as rights."

Who has Ocasio-Cortez blocked?

Conservative news site The Daily Caller said Ocasio-Cortez blocked it in May after the site criticized her Green New Deal, Fox News reported.

OANN's Liz Wheeler last week tweeted that the congresswoman blocked her despite Wheeler being "respectful & civil."

The Daily Wire's Ryan Saavedra noted April 5 that Ocasio-Cortez "finally blocked me and it was after I called out her latest set of lies."

Journalist Harry Cherry told Fox News he was blocked after calling Ocasio-Cortez a "moron" for her remarks comparing border facilities to concentration camps.

Hikind said he's looking for more individuals who've been blocked by Ocasio-Cortez presumably to build his case.

"If you or anyone you know has been blocked by @AOC please get in touch with me ASAP!" he tweeted Tuesday.

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