By Nathan Barton
I seem to agree with Freedom Net Daily, which had this headline: “Judge: I have no earthly idea what the First Amendment means or requires” FND posted a NBC News story, which read in part, “President Donald Trump cannot block Twitter users for the political views they have expressed, a federal judge in Manhattan ruled on Wednesday. Blocking users from viewing his own Twitter account — a feature offered by the social media platform — is unconstitutional and a violation of the First Amendment, Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald wrote in her ruling. … The government had argued that blocked individuals could still access the president’s tweets. The judge agreed but said that even considering the president’s First Amendment rights, preventing users from interacting directly with him on Twitter represented a violation of a ‘real, albeit narrow, slice of speech.’”
This is, to my way of thinking, bizarre indeed. If I understand what this judge is saying, several situations are possible.If I ask for a personal interview, of just a few seconds, with Donald Trump, and I am refused that, then my rights of free speech have been violated?
If I make a phone call to the White House and ask to speak to him, and am refused, then my right to petition the government for redress of grievances has been denied?
Folks, this is insane. I am fairly certain that not being able to use one form of communication does NOT deny any free speech. If I am a mute, must government provide me an interpreter so that I can communicate vocally to government officials? If I have no hands and am not coordinated enough to use my mouth to hold a pen or stylus, must government provide me a scribe to write down my thoughts?
Come on, people, especially you judges, give me a break. And for that matter, give Trump a break. Forty-four presidents did not even have or use Twitter to communicate with the people of the Fifty States. The people still have many, many ways to communicate with Trump, so they are NOT denied any right of free speech or petition. The right to free speech does NOT include a “right” to actually force someone to LISTEN to my free speech. And I do not see that NOT being able to tweet takes away my free speech.
We can write (shocking, I know: all that trouble of getting a letter typed or written out, finding an envelope, buying a stamp, walking to the mail box, and so forth). We can send an e-mail. We can make a phone call (and admittedly, leave a message). We can send a fax. We can even still send a telegram. We can call into a hundred talk shows and be fairly sure that some government employee will record what we said to put into the same files that the tweets and faxes and letters go. We can go stand outside the fence of the White House and wave signs and chant slogans at him. We can march in protest at virtually any place he visits or speaks. We can buy advertising on TV, radio, and other media. We can even hire a sky-writer to put messages up in the air. And for that matter, we can set up our own Twitter account and attack Trump in it 24-7.
How strange is it that the courts continue to find odious “Free Speech Zones” at colleges and political rallies to be “constitutional” but find refusing a Twitter message by someone (or his staff) to be “unconstitutional.”
People, “free speech” does NOT mean that someone actually has to listen to what we say or write. They can (and do) ignore most of what we say. “They” being politicians and government officials. And there is certainly NO requirement to respond. At least not in the US Constitution. We can petition all we want, but they can ignore those petitions ’til the cows come home. And the Second Coming. (And probably will.)
The consequences of this ruling might be even more bizarre. Does this establish a “right to tweet?” Can I therefore require that government give me a Twitter account, and the hardware to access it?
But this decision would seem to say that, soon, if I choose to block robocalls from the odious “Cardholder Services” to my cell phone, that the dirtbag who makes these call to try and scam me can go to court and force me to accept them – and possibly even listen to them, because otherwise, their right of free speech would be violated.
Oh, and how does that play regarding advertising for tobacco products?
Of course, if the courts continue this stupidity, it will soon cause government to grind to a halt, as the tweets, snapchats, e-mails, letters, phone calls (especially robo-calls), telegrams, instagrams, and all the other means of communication overwhelm the ability of not just the White House staff but the staff of Congress, of every fedgov agency, of every legislature and town council and even the court system itself, to receive them. All government business and offices might drown under the onslaught.
Which isn’t, after all, a bad thing.