The "interactive space" where Twitter users can interact with Trump and his comments on the platform constitutes a designated public forum, Buchwald wrote, adding that "the blocking of the plaintiffs based on their political speech constitutes viewpoint discrimination that violates the First Amendment".
The decision, made by NY federal judge Naomi Rice, came following a lawsuit filed last July by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, which claimed that Trump could not prevent American citizens from viewing the president's tweets. "Hope Hicks is also dismissed as a defendant, in light of her resignation as White House Communications Director".
The case was brought by seven blocked Twitter users in conjunction with the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.
"We must assume that the President and Scavino will remedy the blocking we have held to be unconstitutional", she wrote.
While the ruling narrowly targets the Trump administration and is not binding on other public officials, it establishes an important legal precedent that they will be likely to follow.
In a 75-page ruling that rejects Trump's argument that he has a First Amendment right to pick with whom he associates and not to engage with others, a Manhattan federal judge said the section of his personal account with the reply button is a public forum. However, if you click on a Donald Trump tweet, you'll see a long list of replies to that tweet listed underneath.
A request for comment sent to a White House media contact email account was returned as undeliverable.
Attorneys for the Justice Department had argued that the only public Twitter forum for President Trump was the official @POTUS account, citing the fact the @realDonaldTrump handle, which he more frequently uses, was created years ago when he was a private citizen.
"While we must recognise, and are sensitive to, the president's personal First Amendment rights, he can not exercise those rights in a way that infringes the corresponding First Amendment rights of those who have criticised him", she said. It's a concept that can seem ridiculous at times, considering the type of content we've come to expect from Trump's Twitter. Among them was Rebecca Buckwalter, a writer and political consultant who was blocked in June after responding to Trump's tweet that he would have had "ZERO chance winning WH" if he had relied on the "Fake News". She says that because Twitter essentially acts as a "public forum" (the 21st-century equivalent of a town hall meeting), by blocking Twitter users, Trump is shutting down their free speech.
The First Amendment was filed against Trump by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Colombia University, along with a handful of other Twitter users.
Trump could face legal action if he did not comply with the ruling and unblock his critics.
"We're pleased with the court's decision, which reflects a careful application of core First Amendment principles to government censorship on a new communications platform", Jaffer said in a prepared statement. The decision is very clear in differentiating between the "block" and "mute" functions on Twitter, which, for those unfamiliar, is a bit like the difference between holding the phone away from your ear during a phone call and not answering the call.