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Trump appeals ruling over blocking followers on Twitter

NEW YORK — President Donald Trump is asking an appeals court to restore his power to block critics on Twitter.

Government lawyers representing Trump and White House Social Media Director Dan Scavino filed paperwork Monday to appeal a federal judge’s ruling last month that said blocking people from the realDonaldTrump account violates the First Amendment.

The paperwork did not list grounds for the appeal. Trump and Scavino’s lawyers did not immediately respond to messages.

Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald made clear in her May 23 ruling that people have a right to reply directly to politicians who use their accounts as public forums to conduct official business. The decision — the most prominent in a string of similar cases against public officials — could mark a turning point for constituents interacting with government employees on social media.

Buchwald’s ruling stopped short of ordering Trump to unblock users, but one user who sued Trump said her access was restored Monday.

“Two days shy of the one year anniversary of my blocking, realDonaldTrump has unblocked me,” Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza tweeted. “Theory: He just didn’t want to give me the paper anniversary gift.”

Trump built his campaign on early morning tweet storms and hashtag-worthy slogans. Since taking office, he’s turned his account into a virtual megaphone — boasting about accomplishments, jeering opponents and dismissing critical media coverage as “fake news” to his more than 52 million followers.

The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University went to court to challenge his habit of blocking people with dissenting political views. The lawsuit involved seven Trump critics that his account blocked. Others who’ve been walled off include author Stephen King and model Chrissy Teigen.

Buckwalter-Poza, the judicial affairs editor for Daily Kos, said she’s confident she and other Trump critics will win again on appeal.

“We’re still right, and they’re still wrong,” she said.

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