Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Federal judge: Robin Vos, top Republicans violated liberal group's free speech rights

Maybe I am missing something here but blocking stops someone from READING your twitter posts as far as I can see.  Is there now such a thing as reading rights?

A federal judge Friday ruled state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and other top Republicans violated a liberal group’s constitutional rights when they blocked it from following them on Twitter.

The decision from U.S. District Judge William Conley siding with One Wisconsin Now is the latest indicator of the American legal system’s emerging views on social media’s role in democracy and to what extent political speech is protected there.

OWN sued Republican lawmakers in 2017 after three of them — Vos, R-Rochester; Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, who leads the state’s powerful budget-writing committee; and former Rep. Jesse Kremer, R-Kewaskum — blocked the group on Twitter.

Conley’s ruling, which found OWN’s free speech on a public forum was violated, follows a similar case involving President Donald Trump, who has previously blocked followers on Twitter. In that case the court found the president had violated the blocked users’ constitutional rights and ordered him to unblock them.



Bird of Paradise said...

Are these the same kind of liberals at collage that shout down conservative speakers all the time?

ScienceABC123 said...

Simple solution... Stop using Twitter.

Anonymous said...

Paul Weber,

So your solution is for elected officials to stop communicating with constituents? To stop allowing constituents to be able to talk to government officials and seek redress?

The simple solution is to not worry about what the idiots think and say. Ignore them. Electronically "walk away."

The basic reasoning behind this and other cases is sound. If the government is going to use a means of communication, it must remain open to all, not just to those who agree with the messages.

Anonymous said...

People have a constitutional right to speak and write, they do not have a right to be heard or to be read.

Anonymous said...

2:30 AM:

No one is saying that anyone has a right to be read or heard. What is being said is that people cannot be shut off by government actors and have their First Amendment rights (seeking redress) violated.

(see: https://constitution.findlaw.com/amendment1/annotation21.html)

In addition, the government cannot treat people differently if they disagree or agree with them. (14th Amendment.)

This is a no brainer case. Trump was wrong when he tried it, and these guys are wrong as well.

If you are going to use social media as a platform to make official statements, you have to have it remain open.

Imagine if you will a City or Town mailing out notices on a meeting about a subject and not sending notices to people they know are against the subject. People would scream about that and rightfully so.

There is no difference here. Cutting people off from governmental communications is morally wrong and unConstitutional.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:18 I agree with you to the extent that your Twitter account is used an an official communication avenue for your public role.
I disagree to the extent that your Twitter account is private but you talk about politics on occasion.
Surely the appropriate response is to have a [Politician} Official Twitter account that is open to all, and a [Politician] Private account which you can control who can access.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:32,

We agree with you but even on a personal account, talking about politics may not be appropriate if you want to block people. The only politics we would think would be appropriate on a "private, personal" account would be that which the representatives had no input or control. Once you start talking about issues that affect your constituents or items that may come up before you, you are wading into the deep end of the shark pool.

However, it is clear that these representatives did not have "private" accounts.

According to the source article:

[Judge]Conley wrote the Republicans “directly or indirectly” indicated they did not approve of OWN’s liberal viewpoint and that it contributed to blocking OWN’s account.

For example, court documents show [former Rep. Jesse] Kremer, who views his Twitter account as a forum for constituents, said it “is not for Dane County liberals to carry on conversations with me,” adding, “Dane County is obviously a very liberal, socialist area, progressive area.”

[Assembly Speaker Robin] Vos has two Twitter accounts: one for his role as speaker and one as representative of the 63rd Assembly District, which is the account that blocked OWN on Twitter. Vos has maintained he cannot recall why he blocked OWN. (emphasis mine)

These accounts didn't come close to being personal accounts.

If an elected official can't take the heat and vitriol of people, get out of office.

The representatives here screwed up and the judge rightfully slapped them down.