Rep. Gosar should take heed.
A Virginia federal judge recently ruled that politicians who block social media users for making critical comments are violating First Amendment protected free speech.
Yes, it’s true. U.S. District Judge James Cacheris ruled in favor of the plaintiff (who had been blocked on Facebook by a board supervisor) in Davison v. Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.
It’s unfortunate for Rep. Gosar that the district court’s July 25 decision wasn’t made prior to his July 9 Community View submission, “I don’t care if you’re upset if I blocked you on Facebook.” His disdain for the Constitution is now a matter of public record. Sorry, Congressman; no retractions allowed.
However, Rep. Gosar isn’t the only one confused about what constitutes First Amendment free speech. Reading through comment replies shows a high preponderance of local support for the congressman’s Constitution-violating social media policy. One ardent supporter went so far as to say that “no one should have to suffer ignorant fools of the left.”
But the court of public opinion isn’t going to help Rep. Gosar when one of his blocked constituents holds him accountable to the law of the land, the U.S. Constitution that guarantees free speech for all, not just the voices with which he agrees.
In the meantime, Judge Cacheris has set legal precedent that social media is First Amendment protected public space. I wonder if Rep. Gosar cares if his constituents are offended that he’s blocked them now.