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Ocasio-Cortez Sued Over Allegedly Unconstitutional Twitter Block

July 10, 2019, 12:00 AM

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) shouldn’t get to block Twitter Inc. users, according to a suit filed hours after a federal appeals court barred President Donald Trump from doing so.

Ocasio-Cortez allegedly blocked Dov Hikind from viewing her tweets in violation of his First Amendment rights, Hikind said in his lawsuit filed July 9 in a New York federal court.

Trump can’t block critics from responding to his posts because it’s effectively a form of viewpoint discrimination, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said.

The freshman representative blocked Hikind, a former New York state assemblyman who founded Americans Against Anti-Semitism, “because of opinions he expressed regarding” Ocasio-Cortez “and in reply to” her tweets, the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York said. His most recent criticisms centered on her use of “concentration camps” to describe migrant detention facilities along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Ocasio-Cortez “uses Twitter as an important public forum for speech,” Hikind said. The Second Circuit determined that Trump’s use of the social media platform as a public forum prohibited him from blocking users whose viewpoints he disagreed with.

Ocasio-Cortez wasn’t immediately available to comment on the lawsuit.

Weinstein & Weinstein LLP, Queens, N.Y., represents Hikind.

The case is Hikind v. Ocasio-Cortez, E.D.N.Y., No. 19-cv-03956, complaint filed 7/9/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jennifer Bennett in Washington at jbennett@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com

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