250 word discussion response trent

250 word discussion response, cite at least one source

The state action doctrine “formulates a seemingly simple principle: the U.S. Constitution in general, and it’s -individual rights, apply only to state action, not to private action. State action, as a matter of principle, is all government action, i.e., action by the executive, legislature, and judiciary at the state and federal level; private action is all nongovernment action. The principle’s practical result is that, regardless of how strongly an activity protected as a recognized individual right has been interfered with if the interference occurred through state action, the Constitution applies with full force (State Action Doctrine, n.d.) But if it occurred through private action, the Constitution does not apply at all (Quint 267, 274) (State Action Doctrine, n.d.). An exception is the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery and involuntary servitude, which also applies to private conduct (Gardbaum 388; Chemerinsky (2009) 550). The state action doctrine has two main purposes: first, it shall protect individual liberties by ensuring that private action is not subject to constitutional limitations (State Action Doctrine, n.d.). Second, it shall promote federalism and separation of powers by limiting the federal judiciary’s control over states (Tribe (1988) 1691)” (State Action Doctrine, n.d.).

They mean that the private sector can claim a legal basis for damages against a governmental body for a violation of a person’s civil rights (State Action Doctrine, n.d.). So, any activity by the government, any of its branches, or employees who use the “color of law” to violate and individual civil rights (State Action Doctrine, n.d.). One example, if I understand this right, is an off-duty officer having a dispute with their neighbor and chooses to use his authority to win the argument, even though the difference was a civil matter, by using their influence under the color of law.

In an opinion by retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in the 2017 First Amendment case, states that “the cyber age is a revolution of historic proportions” (Hudson Jr., 2019). The cyber age has allowed for people to “alter the way we think, express ourselves, and define who we want to be” (Hudson Jr., 2019). The cyber age has also created a hot battleground for free expression, both nationally and globally (Hudson Jr., 2019).

In the U.S. Court of Appeals No. 18-1691 (2018) case of Knight First Amendment Institute for Columbia University v. Trump, the proposed issues were with political officials limiting their social media accounts, thus blocking free expression from particular individuals’ public access. The case stated that “President Donald Trump and a staffer named Donald Scavino were accused of violating the First Amendment by blocking several people from Trump’s engine of self-expression, his personal Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump. The plaintiffs’ tweets were not vulgar, but they criticized the president and his policies. For example, one of the plaintiffs was blocked after tweeting: “To be fair, you didn’t win the W.H.: Russia won it for you” (Hudson Jr., 2019). In May 2018, Judge Naomi Buchwald of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that the president violated the blocked users’ First Amendment rights by engaging in impermissible viewpoint discrimination. She reasoned that while Twitter is a private company, Trump and his staffer exercised government control over the content of the tweets by blocking users who criticized the president in the interactive space on Twitter. The judge determined that this interactive space was a designated public forum and that the president could not discriminate against speakers because of their viewpoints (Hudson Jr., 2019).

The government appealed the decision to the New York City-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In its appellate brief, the government argues that the district court decision is “fundamentally misconceived” in part because “the @realDonaldTrump account belongs to Donald Trump in his personal capacity and is subject to his personal control, not the control of the government.” In other words, the government contends that Trump’s Twitter feed is not the speech of the government and thus not subject to First Amendment dictates (Hudson Jr., 2019).

On the other hand, the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia contends that the interactive space on Twitter, where individuals can tweet responses to the president’s expression, represents a designated public forum—an area the government has intentionally opened for the expression of views. The Knight Institute contends that Trump and Scavino violated the most fundamental of all free-speech principles: that the government cannot engage in viewpoint discrimination of private speakers (Hudson Jr., 2019).

“The case is a game-changer for both free speech and the right to petition the government,” says Clay Calvert, director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project in the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. “The district court’s ruling highlights not only the importance of online social media platforms’ forums for interacting with government officials (Hudson Jr., 2019). The decision also confirms that when government officials use nongovernment entities like Twitter to comment on policy and personnel matters, the First Amendment comes into play” (Hudson Jr., 2019).

I believe this case is an excellent example because it pertains to the growing cyber age where everyone is connected in different ways. I would assume that when you create an online account where millions of people can access the report and information, the expectation of privacy and the rights to free speech will apply, but not in its entirety. The difference would be a private citizen’s account has the right to block users from seeing their information because they are not using their officially part of a government organization. Where a public official using their account to express information and criticize people would be an overreach under the color of law. Please feel free to correct me because, in my opinion, all public officials need to be held to a higher standard, especially when it comes to social networking. I believe that the state action applied and that blocking respondents to President Trump’s twitter feed did violate the First Amendment under expression.

Trent Maggard

References

Chemerinsky, E, Constitutional Law (3rd ed Wolters Kluwer 2009).

Gardbaum, S, ‘The ‘Horizontal Effect’ of Constitutional Rights’ (2003) 102 MichLRev 387.

Hudson, Jr., D. (2019, April 1). Free speech or censorship? Social media litigation is a hot legal battleground. ABA Journal. https://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/social-clashes-digital-free-speech

Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University v. Trump, No. 18-1691 (2d Cir. 2019). (n.d.). Justia Law. Retrieved March 22, 2020, from https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/ca2/18-1691/18-1691-2019-07-09.html

Quint, P, ‘Free Speech and Private Law in German Constitutional Theory’ (1989) 48 Maryland Law Review 247.

State Action Doctrine. (n.d.). https://doi.org/10.1093/law-mpeccol/e473.013.473

Tribe, L, American Constitutional Law (2nd ed. Foundation Press, 1988).

 
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