ACLU Sues Over Governors Blocking People On Social Media

ACLU Sues Over Governors Blocking People On Social Media

It’s come to this. The Governors of Maryland and Kentucky blocked some people on social media, those people freaked out, and the ACLU has sued (via Hot Air)

(The Hill) The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed lawsuits against the governors of Maryland and Kentucky, claiming they violated constituents’ First Amendment rights by blocking individuals from official social media accounts.

The organization’s Kentucky branch filed a lawsuit Monday on behalf of several constituents, while its Maryland branch filed suit on Tuesday. Both suits ask for injunctions to stop Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) from blocking constituents on social media accounts.

“The highest purpose of the First Amendment is to protect the right of Americans to engage in political speech and to petition the government to address their concerns,” Deborah Jeon, who serves as the ACLU of Maryland’s legal director, said in a statement.

“As the Supreme Court ruled in June, and a federal judge in Virginia echoed just last week, social media has become a vital means for constituents to communicate with their elected officials. It violates both the First Amendment and Maryland’s own social media guidelines for government officials to block out any voices of dissent or those simply raising questions about positions taken by public officials sworn to serve.”

A spokesperson for Hogan’s office dismissed the lawsuit as “frivolous” and “a waste of taxpayer dollars.”

It’s not quite as frivolous as it seems, but, not over free speech, but as “redress of grievance.” However

“The governor’s office has a very clear social media policy, and we will continue to remove all hateful and violent content and coordinated spam attacks to foster an open and constructive dialogue,” said deputy communications director Amelia Chassé in a statement.

Does the governor’s office have the right to remove those types of comments? Redress of grievance has the qualifier “peaceably” attached. What if the comments are anything but? You do not have to put up with that in your own feeds: does the government have to put up with it? Good question.

Here’s another question:

Keith Ellison, federally elected Democrat for the 5th District of Minnesota and the deputy chair of the DNC, loves to block people. I did not use threatening, mean, or vulgar language. If you’ve seen me on Twitter, I tend to be very polite (I have a “kill them with kindness” policy). He’s blocked lots and lots of people. Will the ACLU sue? Or is there a double standard?

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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