Finally! There’s a reason — and, hopefully, a motivation — for politicians not to appear on Twitter: You don’t have to listen to anyone disagreeing with you.
Some of you out there may think that free and open discussions are good for democracy and persuasion, but be honest, do you really enjoy listening to all those dumb people who don’t think like you do?
I bring this up because a federal judge in Missouri this month ruled that a state legislator’s Twitter account was a public forum and that the legislator could not block someone who had retweeted another legislator’s comment about her.
The block by the legislator is the Twitter equivalent of sticking fingers in your ears and shouting “la, la, la, la, la, la …” It makes perfect sense if you’re sensitive and would rather not go to the trouble of changing your opinion about anything.
Naturally, there are odd things about this litigation. For one, the plaintiff, a lawyer named Mike Campbell, didn’t say anything awful. All he did was retweet a legislator’s tweet defending someone that the defendant, state Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch, had criticized. The response from Reisch was banishment from her account.
This may seem like an extreme reaction until you get to an explanatory sentence in the middle of the court ruling: “Besides Plaintiff, Defendant has blocked at least 123 other Twitter users.”
Reisch, at the time she blocked Campbell, had 869 followers. In other words, she blocked a substantial percentage of her potential audience. No disagreement will be tolerated.
Of course, the other weird thing is that Campbell decided to spend the time and money on a federal lawsuit. He could have made fun of Reisch all he wanted to on his own account and he could have used a friend’s account to look at Reisch’s postings. But what’s the point of being practical when you can sue?
Campbell, at this point, may think he’s won the battle. He hasn’t — at least not in the way he may have thought.
Go check out Reisch’s twitter feed — she was @CheriMO44. Can you find it?
Neither can I. She no longer has to worry about annoying comments.
And we have one less politician who’d rather not listen to any other point of view on Twitter. Let’s hope this is a trend.
Note to Paralegals. Look closely at labels. This is from a Texas federal judge’s ruling last week: “Rather than producing the privilege log, a paralegal, now no longer employed at the firm, inadvertently sent the ‘Privilege Log Docs.’”
Hmm. Wonder why the paralegal is no longer employed?
By the way, I recommend reading this ruling if you want your mind bent just a little. The court ruled that the documents were indeed privileged and the plaintiff couldn’t use them in her case — but the court itself could use the information to sanction lawyers for Walmart for not disclosing all sorts of stuff they should have disclosed.
The documents were privileged/not privileged.
Mind-bending realization No. 2: Lawyers for Walmart don’t disclose all sorts of stuff they should disclose. Who knows what goes on when paralegals do read labels?
There may be no true justice in America until all paralegals fail to properly do their jobs.
Headline of the Week (from the New York Times): “A Giant Volcano Could End Human Life on Earth as We Know It.”
So you don’t need to worry so much about politics.