The article posits that ambiguities in how government officials use their private campaign social media accounts after winning election should be resolved in favor of finding the First Amendment applies.
In June 2023, Clinical Assistant Professor & First Amendment Clinic Director Clare R. Norins and Clinic alum Mark L. Bailey (J.D. ’22) published “Campbell v. Reisch: The Dangers of the Campaign Loophole in Social-Media-Blocking Litigation” in 25 University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law 146 (2023).
The article posits that ambiguities in how government officials use their private campaign social media accounts after winning election should be resolved in favor of finding official-capacity use, such that the First Amendment prohibits the official from blocking or censoring speech on the account that they dislike or disagree with. This approach furthers the First Amendment’s interest in open critique of government and helps ensure the public’s continued access to some of the most relevant contemporary forums for political speech today.
The article was cited in U.S. Supreme Court amicus briefs filed in the case Lindke v. Freed. One filed by Electronic Frontier Foundation, Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, and Woodhull Freedom Foundation; the second filed by a coalition of First Amendment Clinics, Citizens and Journalists.
The First Amendment protects speech on social media platforms that have been designated as public forums by government officials or agencies. Government officials cannot block individuals from accessing their social media pages simply because the government dislikes or disagrees with their speech. Read more about our work protecting citizen speech here.Explore Issue