Good Law | Bad Law #74 - The First Amendment in 280 Characters W/ Katie Fallow

Aaron Freiwald, Managing Partner of Freiwald Law and host of the weekly podcast series Good Law | Bad Law, is joined by Katie Fallow, a Senior Attorney at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.


Before Katie joined the Knight First Amendment Institute, she was a partner at the law firm Jenner & Block, where she represented video game creators in the Supreme Court case EMA v Brown and defended news outlets like the Huffington Post against defamation claims.


Katie joins the show today to talk about a case she has brought on behalf of seven Twitter users that have been blocked from the @RealDonaldTrump Twitter account. She claims President Trump has violated the First Amendment by blocking these users because:


  • The President uses his Twitter account as a form of public forum, and a public official cannot silence or exclude someone from a public forum based solely on his or her viewpoint.
  • The President’s Twitter account has become an important source of information and an individual’s access to this information cannot be revoked due to his or her viewpoint.
  • Blocking individuals based on their viewpoints interferes with their rights to petition the government for redress of grievances.


One argument the government is making to combat these claims is that the @RealDonaldTrump Twitter account is the President’s private account and unaffiliated with the official account of the Office of the President. Therefore, he can block whomever he wants.


Katie and The Knight First Amendment Institute dispute this point by citing claims made by the DOJ in recent cases asserting that statements made on the @RealDonaldTrump Twitter account are official White House statements.


During the episode, Katie also clarified that she and her clients are not seeking monetary compensation, but rather to require the President to remove the existing blocks on users and to prevent him from blocking users in the future based on their dissenting viewpoints.


To learn more about the case, read the complaint here:


Remember to tune in every Friday for new episodes of Good Law | Bad Law!


Host: Aaron Freiwald

Guest: Katie Fallow