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Case Name Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University v. Trump PR-NY-0004
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-05205-NRB ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Presidential Authority
Speech and Religious Freedom
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On July 11, 2017, the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, as well as various political writers and professors, filed this suit in the U.S. District for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiffs sued President Donald J. Trump, White House Press Secretary Sean M. Spicer, ... read more >
On July 11, 2017, the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, as well as various political writers and professors, filed this suit in the U.S. District for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiffs sued President Donald J. Trump, White House Press Secretary Sean M. Spicer, and other agents of the executive branch through a Bivens claim alleging First Amendment violations. The plaintiffs argued that President Trump’s twitter account was a public forum and alleged that by blocking Twitter users who had criticized President Trump or his policies, the defendants had unconstitutionally limited those users’ right to free speech. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel and the ACLU, sought declaratory and injunctive relief as well as attorneys’ fees and costs. The case was assigned to Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald.

On October 13, 2017, the defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that the district court lacked jurisdiction over the plaintiffs’ claims, that the plaintiffs could not establish a state action, and that blocking the individual plaintiffs did violate the public forum doctrine.

On November 3, 2017, the plaintiffs responded with a cross-motion for summary judgment, arguing that the @realDonaldTrump account is a designated public forum and that blocking the individual plaintiffs was unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.

On May 23, 2018, the Court granted in part and denied in part both motions for summary judgment. Judge Buchwald concluded that the court did have jurisdiction over this matter but found that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Hope Hicks. Thus, the two were dismissed as defendants. Next, the Court found that the type of speech the plaintiffs sought to engage in was protected by the First Amendment and that the @realDonaldTrump account was susceptible to analysis under the public forum doctrine. Lastly, Judge Buchwald concluded that the viewpoint-based exclusion, or blocking, of a twitter user from the account was proscribed by the First Amendment and could not be justified by the President’s personal interests. 302 F. Supp. 3d 541.

On June 4, 2018, the defendants appealed this decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. This appeal has not yet been resolved. The case is ongoing.

Jake Parker - 07/20/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Bivens
Defendant(s) United States
Plaintiff Description The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and various political writers and professors.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Source of Relief Litigation
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
1:17-cv-5205 (S.D.N.Y.)
PR-NY-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/26/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PR-NY-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/11/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Re: Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, et al. v. Trump, et al., No. 17-cv-5205 (NRB) [ECF# 21]
PR-NY-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/11/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order [ECF# 72] (302 F.Supp.3d 541) (S.D.N.Y.)
PR-NY-0004-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/23/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Buchwald, Naomi Reice (S.D.N.Y.)
PR-NY-0004-0003 | PR-NY-0004-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abdo, Alex (New York)
PR-NY-0004-0001 | PR-NY-0004-9000
Amunson, Jessica Ring (District of Columbia)
PR-NY-0004-0001 | PR-NY-0004-9000
Fallow, Katherine A. (District of Columbia)
PR-NY-0004-0001 | PR-NY-0004-9000
Jaffer, Jameel (New York)
PR-NY-0004-0001 | PR-NY-0004-9000
Johnson, Tassity S. (District of Columbia)
PR-NY-0004-0001 | PR-NY-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Baer, Michael Hendry (District of Columbia)
PR-NY-0004-0002 | PR-NY-0004-9000
Halainen, Daniel (District of Columbia)
PR-NY-0004-9000
Readler, Chad A. (District of Columbia)
PR-NY-0004-0002
Womack, Eric R. (District of Columbia)
PR-NY-0004-0002
Other Lawyers Burgess, Brian (District of Columbia)
PR-NY-0004-9000
Geltzer, Joshua A. (District of Columbia)
PR-NY-0004-9000
Kim, Andrew (District of Columbia)
PR-NY-0004-9000
Stoltz, Mitchell L. (California)
PR-NY-0004-9000

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