The Supreme Court tossed out a case on Monday that challenged former President Donald Trump for blocking people on social media site Twitter.
SCOTUS sent the case right back down to an appeals court and ordered that the whole thing be dismissed as moot. This particular case is one of the last ones of the Trump-era lawsuits to be tossed out after the president left the White House.
Earlier in the year, the court refused to hear a case that alleged the former president had violated the very obscure emoluments clause in the Constitution through his dealing at the D.C. Trump Hotel.
Justice Clarence Thomas in a concurring opinion wrote that given the fact that Trump is no longer in office and banned from Twitter, the court made the right decision to drop the case. Still, he added, the case raised important questions about the control of free speech on digital platforms.
“Today’s digital platforms provide avenues for historically unprecedented amounts of speech, including speech by government actors,” Thomas wrote. “Also unprecedented, however, is the concentrated control of so much speech in the hands of a few private parties. We will soon have no choice but to address how our legal doctrines apply to highly concentrated, privately owned information infrastructure such as digital platforms.advertisement — content continues below
Trump’s Twitter case, Knight First Amendment Institute v. Trump, arose in 2017 after several Twitter users claimed that Trump had violated their First Amendment rights by blocking their accounts. They argued that although Trump tweeted from his personal account, he used it in a presidential capacity, making it a public forum. The plaintiffs said every Trump tweet was an “official statement.”
Back in 2018, a judge in the state of New York ruled that the president’s blocks on Twitter were unconstitutional.
“This case requires us to consider whether a public official may, consistent with the First Amendment, ‘block’ a person from his Twitter account in response to the political views that person has expressed, and whether the analysis differs because that public official is the President of the United States. The answer to both questions is no,” Judge Naomi Buchwald wrote in his decision.
Not long after this ruling, many of the individuals who said Trump had blocked them reported they had been unblocked. However, the Trump administration kept up the fight against the lawsuit though without any real success.
A group of users on Twitter sued the former president once again, which prompted Trump to appeal the case to the Supreme Court.