Libertà di parola verso pubblico funzionario, titolare di account Twitter

Secondo la Eastern District Court del Missouri – easter division, 9 dicembre 2022, Case: 4:20-cv-00821-JAR, Felts v. Vollmer, l’account Twitter di unpubblico cuindionario è designated public forum e quindi la censura non è ammessa.

Per le osservazioni critiche ricevute, infatti, il funzionario aveva bloccato una cittadina.

In particolare il tweet e il suo contesto, § 10: << Plaintiff responded to Action St. Louis’ tweet stating: “What do you mean by ‘change the messaging around #CloseTheWorkhouse,’ @PresReed? #STLBOA #aldergeddon2019 #WokeVoterSTL. (Pltf.’s Ex. 27). The issue of closing the St. Louis Workhouse, a medium security institution and one of two jails in the City, was a subject of political debate in January 2019. Plaintiff was among those advocating for the Board of Aldermen to take action to close the Workhouse, as was Action St. Louis. (Trial Tr. at 69:15-25)>>.

E’ public forum , sempre che non sia account totalmente privato: <<“not every social media account operated by a public official is a government account,” and instructed that courts should look to “how the official describes and uses the account,” “to whom features of the account are made available,” and “how others … regard and treat the account.” Id>> , p. 14, dice la corte citando il noto precedente Knight First Amendment Inst. at Columbia Univ. v. Trump del 2019.

Il dettaglio sull’uso pubblico sta al §§ 37-40.

E’ rigettata l’allegazione del blocco per rischio di violenze, non riscontrato, § 45

Sintesi finale: <<At all relevant times, Reed was the final decisionmaker for communications, including the use of social media, for the Office of the President of the Board of Aldermen. At or near the time Plaintiff was initially blocked, Reed’s public Twitter account had evolved into a tool of governance. In any event, by the time the Account was embedded into the City’s website in April 2019, while Plaintiff remained blocked, the Account was being operated by Reed under color of law as an official governmental account. The continued blocking of Plaintiff based on the content of her tweet is impermissible viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment. Thus, Plaintiff is entitled to judgment in her favor on her remaining claim for declaratory relief. The Court will also award Plaintiff the sum of $1.00 in nominal damages for the constitutional violation >>

(notizia e link alla sentenza dal blog del prof. Eric Goldman)