A federal judge in San Francisco shut down Donald Trump’s crusade against Twitter, ruling Friday that the twice-impeached former president’s allegations that the social media giant violated his First Amendment rights were essentially BS.
In a 17-page order issued Friday, US District Judge James Donato upheld the company’s January 2021 decision to fire the former president from service to prevent him from inciting his supporters to violently oppose the results of the 2020 election. Thus, Twitter is under no obligation to allow Trump to return to the platform.
Last year, Trump sued Twitter after he was permanently suspended from tweeting for breaching enforcement rules against “glorifying violence” with tweets widely seen as igniting the deadly January 3 post. 6 riots in the Capitol. After starting his own clone on Twitter, the struggling Truth Social, Trump said in an interview that he would not return to Twitter even if the ban was lifted by incoming owner Elon Musk.
“I’m disappointed with the way Twitter is treating me,” Trump told CNBC. “I won’t be back on Twitter.”
By overturning Trump’s lawsuit, which was brought with the American Conservative Union and five individual users including anti-vaxxer conspiracy theorists Naomi Wolf and Wayne Allen Root, Donato demolished each of the former commander-in-chief’s arguments one by one.
“The plaintiffs’ main claim is that the defendants have censorship[ed]Donato wrote in the order that the “plaintiffs” Twitter accounts were violating their right to free speech under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. “Prosecutors do not start from a position of strength.”
Put simply, the First Amendment “applies only to government abbreviations in speech, not to purported abbreviations by private companies,” the order explains, noting that Twitter is a “private company.” An amended complaint by Trump “only presents a portfolio of allegations that some Democratic members of Congress want Mr. Trump following the order, and his ‘views’, which will be banned from Twitter, because such content and views were ‘contrary to preferred views’.” to these legislators.”
But even if some lawmakers, such as the senator. Mark Warner (D-VA) spoke out against Trump’s crude and potentially dangerous online behavior, then Sean. Kamala Harris demanded Twitter suspend Trump’s account, and Donato noted that government officials “are completely free to express their opinions without being considered the official voice of the ‘state’. Otherwise, it would be impossible to form a government in our republic of elected representatives.”
Donato judged Trump’s position “below enough,” even giving him “every benefit of the doubt.” Moreover, Donato wrote, the citations to the case cited by Trump’s lawyers managed to undermine their own arguments.
In his initial complaint, Trump also claimed that Section 230, a law that protects online platforms like Twitter from prosecution for content posted by users, is unconstitutional. As president, Trump launched an all-out assault on Section 230 in an effort to counter Twitter’s supposed “left bias.” Trump’s account had nearly 90 million followers before the ban.
“Trump’s attacks on Section 230 follow a familiar pattern: they always seem to follow a perceived insult by social media companies,” the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation said in December 2020.
In his lawsuit, Trump claimed he had “examples of Democratic lawmakers threatening new regulations, dismantling antitrust, removing Section 230 immunity from defendants and other social media platforms if Twitter does not censor opinions and content that members of Congress disagree with.” However, Donato wrote on Friday, “Actual quotes do not live up to this bill.”
“The plaintiffs are only making the vague and speculative claim that”[u]information and beliefs, the defendants were not depriving the plaintiff or members of a similar putative class but of the immunity allegedly afforded by Article 230(c)”, “the ruling states.” “Why this might make sense has not been said. The Court refuses to accept such speculative and peremptory allegations as a basis for a declaratory judgment claim.”
Donato also dropped Trump’s attempt to hold Twitter accountable for its alleged violation of the Deceptive and Unfair Business Practices Act in Florida. But even though Trump lives in Florida, he and the others have long agreed, “in accordance with Twitter’s Terms of Service (TOS), that California law will govern all disputes that arise between Twitter and its users,” Donato wrote, adding that there “isn’t Reasonable suspicion that California has an intrinsic relationship to this case,” thanks to Twitter’s “primary place of business” which is San Francisco.
The ruling continues, “Although this is sufficient to dismiss the third allegation, some additional notes are useful.” “…TOS expressly states that Twitter may suspend or terminate an account “at any time for any or no reason.” It also states that Twitter may remove or refuse to distribute any content. There is nothing deceptive or misleading about these provisions, And the plaintiffs’ suggestion that Twitter may have applied it inconsistently…or at the request of the government, doesn’t change that.”
The fourth claim, under Florida’s so-called Stop Censorship Social Media Act, was dismissed because Trump’s Twitter account had already been shut down by the time the law went into effect in July 2021. Despite the fact that a federal judge blocks Florida from enforcement . Donato wrote on the statute, a move the state is currently appealing, “and therefore it is not clear what the plaintiffs claim is the potential application of the law to their case.”
Trump, who has lost dozens of lawsuits in his attempts to reverse his loss in the 2020 election, will be allowed to resubmit the complaint. However, Donato said in his order, he is forbidden from adding any new allegations.