BREAKING: Supreme Court rules public can sue officials who block, mute them on social media

The ruling was unanimous.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
On Friday, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that members of the public can, in certain cases, sue government officials who block or mute them on social media.

The justices determined that whether a lawsuit is justified will depend not only on who the blocker is, but whether they acted using an official account where government business is conducted.

According to NBC News, Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote in the ruling that social media accounts can be viewed as official channels of communication when the user "possessed actual authority to speak on the state's behalf" and "purported to exercise that authority."

"In some circumstances," she added, "the post's content and function might make the plaintiff's argument a slam dunk," such as when the account is marked as official.

The ruling was made in response to two cases out of California and Michigan. In the former,

Poway Unified School District Board of Trustees members Michelle O’Connor-Ratcliff and TJ Zane, blocked parents Christopher and Kimberly Garnier from commenting on their Facebook page and Twitter posts. Lower courts sided with the parents.

In the latter, Port Huron City Manager James Freed blocked a woman who posted criticism in response to his explanation of the city's response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Lower courts sided with the official.

Both cases were sent back to the lower courts to have the new ruling applied.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.
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