Congress

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sued over Twitter blocking after judge rules against Trump

Plaintiffs are former New York assemblyman and a House candidate using the handle @joeysalads

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., was sued for blocking critics on Twitter days after a federal appeals court said President Donald Trump could not do that because it violated constituents’ free speech rights. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Days after a federal court said President Donald Trump could not block his critics from commenting on his tweets, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is being sued by two people she blocked on Twitter.

Ocasio-Cortez, who tweets from the handle @AOC, was sued by Democratic former New York state assemblyman Dov Hikind and YouTube personality and New York District 11 Republican candidate Joey “Salads” Saladino. A summons was filed in Friday in Hikind’s lawsuit.

A U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge ruled earlier this week that Trump cannot block people on social media, because it violates their constitutional rights to free speech. 

[Internet rallies to support Nunes cow parody Twitter account]

Ocasio-Cortez does have an official congressional Twitter account, but like the president, she mostly tweets from her personal account. 

“Mr. Hikind, who is critical of Defendant on a regular basis, was blocked on July 8, 2019, by AOC from the @AOC account,” Hikind’s lawsuit said. 

[Hello Congress, goodbye Twitter followers]

Hikind sued in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York the day after he said he was blocked, asking that Ocasio-Cortez be ordered to unblock him and others who are blocked “on the basis of viewpoint.”

“No one is above the law. If the courts ruled POTUS can’t block people on Twitter, why would @AOC think she can get away with silencing her critics?” Hikind tweeted on the day the lawsuit was filed.

Albany Times Union reporter Chris Bragg called the lawsuit “rather ironic” because when Hikind was still a public official, he blocked Bragg.

Saladino’s @joeysalads account has responded or tagged @AOC in several posts. In one post by Ocasio-Cortez where she advocates for a ban of for-profit prisons, Saladino’s account replied: “Hey sweetie, can I get a shot of Whiskey.”

Ocasio-Cortez was a bartender when she launched an underdog primary challenge in 2018 to Rep. Joe Crowley, who was then the fourth highest-ranking Democrat in the House.

Saladino’s case, not yet available on the U.S. court database known as PACER but posted to his Twitter account, said Ocasio-Cortez, “blocked me from viewing and engaging with her official Twitter profile after I responded to one of her political posts.”

It’s not clear exactly which post was the one that resulted in him being blocked.

Ocasio-Cortez’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

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