Texas AG stops blocking critics on Twitter after First Amendment lawsuit

From Axios:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has unblocked critics on his Twitter account and agreed not to take such action again after reaching an agreement in a First Amendment lawsuit against him.

Of note: The agreement, filed in Austin on Friday but announced Monday, follows similar First Amendment cases against former President Trump and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

Paxton agreed to not block users on his personal Twitter account “based on First Amendment-protected viewpoints expressed,” and proceeded to unblock the plaintiffs named in the suit. According to Friday’s agreement, Paxton will no longer be blocking any accounts.

What they’re saying: Kate Huddleston, attorney for the ACLU of Texas said in a statement that the agreement marked “an important victory for Texans’ First Amendment rights.”

  • “It shouldn’t have taken a lawsuit for Attorney General Paxton to comply with the Constitution and respect Texans’ right to their free speech, including their right to criticize his policies and qualifications in their responses to his tweets,” Huddleston added.
  • Katie Fallow, senior counsel at the Knight First Amendment Institute, added that blocking Twitter users was “unconstitutional.”
  • “Multiple courts have recognized that government officials who use their social media accounts for official purposes violate the First Amendment if they block people from those accounts on the basis of viewpoint,” Fallow said.
  • Representatives for Paxton did not immediately respond to Axios’ request for comment.

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