Shortly after Election Day in 2016, President Trump started blocking people who were mean to him on Twitter at a rapid pace. Critics both famous and not were swept up and cut off from the president’s signature brand of social media use, and it didn’t take long for First Amendment activists to file a lawsuit since, according to the White House, President Trump’s tweets are official statements and the public has a right to see them.
In a fitting update to this silly story, a judge has suggested that President Trump can avoid this lawsuit if he mutes his critics instead of outright blocking them:
Manhattan federal Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald on Thursday suggested a settlement as the preferred outcome after listening to lawyers argue whether it’s constitutional for Trump to block his critics.
Buchwald told lawyers they run the risk of establishing new law that they might not like if they resist a settlement. Otherwise, she’ll rule soon.
During the hearing, Judge Buchwald asked Trump’s lawyer, Michael Baer, if Twitter was any different from a town hall meeting. While critics are routinely silenced or ignored at town hall meetings, they still get to speak or ask a question first. Baer said the situation was more analogous to walking away from someone in public.
Judge Buchwald set a date to decide whether or not to honor Trump’s request to dismiss the lawsuit, but given today’s events, it’s likely she’s leaning toward rejecting that request.