It’s no secret that President Donald Trump blocks his adversaries and critics on Twitter.
Earlier this year, some of the targets of his blocking took the case to court, suggesting that it was a violation of their free speech rights under the First Amendment. The judge overseeing the case agreed, and in early June, Trump complied, unblocking some, but not all, of his critics.
The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University brought this fact to the attention of the Justice Department, sending them a list of 41 accounts that continued to be blocked on Aug. 10.
Katie Fallow, senior staff attorney at the Knight Institute, explained that “as the district court has held, the First Amendment prohibits the president from blocking Twitter users simply because they’ve criticized him. Given that ruling, the president and his aides should unblock all of the Twitter users who have been blocked from the @realDonaldTrump account on the basis of viewpoint.”
The 41 individuals in the list are far from a complete account of those blocked, but as of Tuesday, at least 20 of them were released from Trump Twitter purgatory. Among the 41 are film producers, an author, and a photographer—all of whom had criticized Trump or his policies in some way.
A number of journalists, authors, a law professor, and a nuclear weapons expert are among those who took to Twitter Tuesday night to announce that they had been unblocked. While not part of the list sent to the Justice Department, comedian and frequent Trump critic Rosie O’Donnell remains blocked from seeing Trump’s posts on Twitter.