Appeals court tilts against Trump in Twitter fight

NEW YORK (AP) — Judges on a federal appeals court in New York seem skeptical of arguments that President Donald Trump can legally ban critics from his Twitter account.

The three-judge panel heard oral arguments Tuesday without ruling.

The government appealed after a judge last year ruled that blocking critics violates the First Amendment.

The ruling came after the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University sued on behalf of Trump critics who were blocked.

Attorney Jennifer Utrecht, arguing on behalf of the president, noted that (at)realDonaldTrump was created long before Trump was president. She said Trump sometimes makes official announcements through tweets but acts in a private capacity when he blocks individuals.

Circuit Judge Barrington Parker said it might be a “quintessential First Amendment violation” when Trump blocks critics.

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