Journalist and notable racy anime aficionado Kurt Eichenwald is an expert in the ins-and-outs of the obscure, niche legal field of “Twitter law,” and now he’s sharing his knowledge with author Stephen King.
Eichenwald, of course, pursued an infamous Twitter troll who send him a strobing GIF that gave Eichenwald a serious epileptic seizure. Although most of the work was done by the FBI, local Dallas police and county prosecutors, the experience has apparently made Eichenwald so confident that he’s doling out advice on the subject.
The client, King, was recently blocked by President Donald Trump. And according to crack legal mind Eichenwald, that’s an offense ripe for litigation.
The theory, at least based on what I learned in law school and my brief time practicing Constitutional appellate litigation, is …tenuous.
There’s certainly an argument to be made that the First Amendment protects the right of the government to petition their “governor,” in this case, Trump. But there’s really no indication in the Amendment itself or ensuing jurisprudence that said governor must keep open all available avenues of communication.
Social media might be King’s favored means of haranguing the President with witty bon mots, but it’s by no means the only way King can communicate with Trump —and there are plenty of available options.
That said, Twitter is a private interface—not yet defined as a public accommodation —and its users are free to block and unblock whomever they see fit. If Trump is fed up with King, whether for his criticism or his mostly irritating recent novels, he’s free to do so.
There’s also the medium’s function. As Heat Street writers blocked by Eichenwald over our needling interest in his hentai-centric extracurricular activities know, one need only log out of Twitter to bypass the block and read the blocker’s Tweets. You simply can’t respond or quote the blocker, but that’s probably not going to stop King from commenting.
King, at least for his part, seems unfazed.
As does Kurt, for the betterment of us all.