Ocasio-Cortez Sued for Blocking Users on Twitter

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., is being sued for blocking critics on Twitter. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

(CN) – Hours after a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that President Donald Trump cannot block critics on Twitter, a former Democratic New York assemblyman filed suit against Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for blocking him on the social media website.

Former Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who is the founder of an advocacy organization called Americans Against Anti-Semitism, claims in the suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, that Ocasio-Cortez blocked him from her Twitter account, because of his comments supporting “Jewish values and Israel.”

Hikind said in the suit he has criticised the representative from New York, who is also a Democrat, “multiple times,” most recently in response to her claims that the U.S. government is running concentration camps on the border that are “similar to those in the Holocaust.”

“In an effort to suppress contrary views, Defendant has excluded Twitter users who have criticized AOC and her positions as a Congresswoman via ‘blocking’. This practice is unconstitutional and must end,” Hikind said in the 11 page complaint.

Just before Hikund filed his suit Tuesday, the Second Circuit ruled that Trump’s Twitter account is not private and that it is unconstitutional for the president to block critics on the social media platform.

The court ruled that evidence of the “official nature” of Trump’s Twitter account is “overwhelming.”

“We also conclude that once the president has chosen a platform and opened up its interactive space to millions of users and participants, he may not selectively exclude those whose views he disagrees with,” U.S. Circuit Judge Barrington Parker wrote in the ruling. 

Hikind is asking the court to declare that the “viewpoint-based exclusion occurring here violates the First Amendment,” and to order Ocasio-Cortez to restore his access to her Twitter account.    

“AOC regularly posts political messages of both a public nature,” Hikind said in the complaint. “Defendants twitter page was active with over 17 tweets and re-tweets between July 8, 2019 and July 9, 2019 alone. Each of these tweets involves a public interest and matters of official capacity, such as immigration, climate change, public housing, among other topics.”

Hikind claims in the suit that Ocasio-Cortez has blocked several other critics including a reporter for the The Daily Wire – a conservative news and opinion website – and an account called Students for Trump.

Joseph Saladino, a Republican congressional candidate in New York, also announced Tuesday that he was suing Ocasio-Cortez for blocking him on Twitter. He said he filed his suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. 

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