Supreme Court to hear cases on government officials blocking critics on social media



The Supreme Court said Monday it will hear two cases in which public officials blocked critics on their personal social media accounts.

In both cases, the officials had used their personal accounts for public official announcements.

Circuit appellate courts have split on the matter, with one ruling the officials were acting as private citizens and so blocking was allowed and another finding that the government employees had effectively turned their accounts into official business and could not block critics.

The cases come several years after former President Trump tested the issue, having used his @RealDonaldTrump account to conduct presidential business while blocking some of his carping critics.

Lower courts ruled against the then-president, but the Supreme Court later vacated those decisions after Mr. Trump had left office — and was ousted from Twitter — by finding the issue had become moot.

Now the justices face two competing rulings.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit allowed local officials to block users, saying the test was whether the official “could not have behaved as he did without the authority of his office.”

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled against local officials, saying they crossed a line when they had “clothed their pages in the authority of their offices and used their pages to communicate about their official duties.”




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