Moreover, Baer noted that all but one of the plaintiffs has continued to engage the president's tweets despite being blocked by him. The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University is suing Trump on behalf of seven people he has blocked, contending the president is not merely acting thin-skinned but also flouting the Constitution.
Buchwald appeared skeptical of that argument, noting that the Twitter blocks can affect users beyond just those who are blocked.
On Twitter, if Trump "blocks" someone, they are prevented from seeing and responding directly to his tweets.
Buchwald kept coming back to muting as a compromise that wouldn't give critics equal access to the president through Twitter and wouldn't let Trump keep them completely away from his account, but would give both sides part of what they wanted.
Justice Department lawyers were in court in Manhattan to defend Trump's ability to block select Twitter users from viewing his messages. "I never thought that Trump would be reading my tweets". Buchwald said a settlement would likely be the best resolution to the case, as a ruling might create uncomfortable legal precedent.
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But Buchwald was clearly serious about the proposal; as the two-hour hearing reached its close early Thursday afternoon, the judge urged the two sides to "consider my earlier suggestion".
Fallow told BuzzFeed News that her clients would be open to settling for a muting option if Trump unblocked them on Twitter.
The White House did not return a request for comment but has said in the past that it does not comment on pending litigation.
"It is just not like the public forum cases, where the microphone is turned off", he said. "It is not the case that the only person harmed by blocking is the blockee". They each showed us the tweets they sent that after which they noticed they could no longer see nor comment on the president's tweets, which he often uses to make major announcements. This has barred these users from interacting with the President's @realdonaldtrump account. "And I think that's not the way our government should act". "But given that the government has argued that the president's Twitter account isn't subject to the First Amendment at all.it would be a pretty remarkable about-face if the government were to propose a settlement at this point".
"We've said from the outset that muting would be a less restrictive alternative than blocking, so we were pleased the judge raised this possibility", Jaffer said.