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September 26, 2023

Supreme Court asked to pause limits on White House social media requests

The White House has asked the Supreme Court of the United States to stay a lower court ruling that struck down the Trump administration’s social media policy limiting the number of accounts that could receive direct messages from the president. The policy had barred anyone without a White House-issued “thought ledger” from receiving messages from @realDonaldTrump. The policy was challenged by a group of seven social media users who argued that it unconstitutionally silenced opposition to the administration. A district court in Washington, D.C. ruled that the policy violated the users’ First Amendment rights, and that the White House must keep open access to its social media accounts for ordinary citizens. The administration has argued that the policy was necessary to ensure national security and the protection of the president’s private account. With a stay, the White House could bring back the policy into effect and limit direct messages to only those with a thought ledger. The Supreme Court has yet to decide if it will take up the case. It is likely that the court’s decision would have broader implications on how the First Amendment applies to social media accounts owned by state actors.