Attorneys argue case of Rep. who blocked constituent on Twitter

1 year 2 months 1 week ago Friday, November 16 2018 Nov 16, 2018 Friday, November 16, 2018 4:11:00 PM CST November 16, 2018 in News
By: Stephanie Hamann, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

JEFFERSON CITY - The nature of Twitter and how government officials use it was at the heart of a hearing Friday in a lawsuit against state Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch, R-Hallsville.

Attorney Mike Campbell contends Reisch violated the First Amendment by blocking him on Twitter.

Reisch's defense team argued Twitter is not a public forum and the First Amendment does not apply to it.

Defense attorney Lowell D. Pearson said a private company like Twitter cannot create a public forum, even when a public official uses it. Pearson also argued an elected official has no obligation to listen to speech.

Andrew Hirth, Campbell's attorney said it's enough that Reisch controls her Twitter account. He said people use Twitter to speak to others and invite debate, and, once a person invites debate, they cannot discriminate based on viewpoint.

At one point, Federal Judge Brian C. Wimes asked Hirth what makes blocking a tweet any different than refusing to take a question at a news conference because of time constraints.

Hirth said Twitter is different because it has an unlimited amount of space.

Wimes said the case is "very novel."

Both Pearson and Hirth noted Wimes seemed engaged with the arguments.

"And he should be," Pearson said after the hearing. "This is only the third case in the United States involving Twitter blocking by elected officials." 

Hirth said he expects to get a "very thoughtful and thorough ruling." 

"If Ms. Toalson Reisch's Twitter page is a designated public forum, then the plaintiff wins," he said. "Because there's no dispute that she discriminated against him on the basis of his viewpoint."

Toalson Reisch's team has repeatedly said the case has no merit.

"We think that the lawsuit is frivolous," he said.

A trial will be held in March 2019 if Wimes does not dismiss the case.

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The capitol dome in Missouri will shine red for the Kansas City Chiefs as the... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, January 29 2020 Jan 29, 2020 Wednesday, January 29, 2020 12:24:00 PM CST January 29, 2020 in News
MIAMI — Brett Veach stands to the side of the Super Bowl's annual media night melee with a... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, January 29 2020 Jan 29, 2020 Wednesday, January 29, 2020 12:14:50 PM CST January 29, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Patricia Beasley entered University Hospital today fully recovered and with a smile on her face as doctors and... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, January 29 2020 Jan 29, 2020 Wednesday, January 29, 2020 11:21:00 AM CST January 29, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Boone Hospital and Stephens College announced a new partnership Wednesday, aimed at developing a nursing program. “Stephens... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, January 29 2020 Jan 29, 2020 Wednesday, January 29, 2020 10:40:00 AM CST January 29, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Snowfall overnight and early Wednesday morning is creating slick road conditions around mid-Missouri. Columbia Public Works announced... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, January 29 2020 Jan 29, 2020 Wednesday, January 29, 2020 7:46:00 AM CST January 29, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Overnight snowfall has prompted a number of school districts in mid-Missouri to close or delay opening. Jefferson... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, January 29 2020 Jan 29, 2020 Wednesday, January 29, 2020 5:53:00 AM CST January 29, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association aims to help answer some questions about the state's young medical marijuana... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, January 29 2020 Jan 29, 2020 Wednesday, January 29, 2020 3:06:00 AM CST January 29, 2020 in News
BOONVILLE— Pinnacle Hospital closed its doors in mid-January , and former patients are trying to get their health records. ... More >>
16 hours ago Tuesday, January 28 2020 Jan 28, 2020 Tuesday, January 28, 2020 10:18:00 PM CST January 28, 2020 in News
SOUTH BEACH - Fans from all over came to Ocean Drive Tuesday to see all the national media outlets talk... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, January 28 2020 Jan 28, 2020 Tuesday, January 28, 2020 9:43:00 PM CST January 28, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Most dogs spend their days playing with toys, getting belly rubs and eating treats. But, one Columbia dog... More >>
18 hours ago Tuesday, January 28 2020 Jan 28, 2020 Tuesday, January 28, 2020 8:40:00 PM CST January 28, 2020 in Continuous News
ROCHEPORT— The first Super Bowl game was played in 1967, a lopsided contest between the Green Bay Packers and... More >>
18 hours ago Tuesday, January 28 2020 Jan 28, 2020 Tuesday, January 28, 2020 8:37:00 PM CST January 28, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY -- Cole County is conducting its annual Point in Time Count which identifies the number of homeless people... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, January 28 2020 Jan 28, 2020 Tuesday, January 28, 2020 8:05:00 PM CST January 28, 2020 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) - A former Missouri teacher was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison for secretly recording videos... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, January 28 2020 Jan 28, 2020 Tuesday, January 28, 2020 7:21:00 PM CST January 28, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - University of Missouri student Anqi Sun's family lives in Wuhan, China, the place where the coronavirus first started.... More >>
21 hours ago Tuesday, January 28 2020 Jan 28, 2020 Tuesday, January 28, 2020 6:10:00 PM CST January 28, 2020 in News
KINGDOM CITY - The Missouri State Highway Patrol found 36 pounds of marijuana during a stop along Interstate 70 Monday... More >>
22 hours ago Tuesday, January 28 2020 Jan 28, 2020 Tuesday, January 28, 2020 4:31:00 PM CST January 28, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Amid the coronavirus outbreak in China, health officials in mid-Missouri warn against public panic. "If there is... More >>
22 hours ago Tuesday, January 28 2020 Jan 28, 2020 Tuesday, January 28, 2020 4:13:00 PM CST January 28, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- The end of May brought devastation for Jefferson City, and simultaneously, severe flooding. The end of January, however,... More >>
23 hours ago Tuesday, January 28 2020 Jan 28, 2020 Tuesday, January 28, 2020 3:30:00 PM CST January 28, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY—The decline of children covered by Medicaid in Missouri has left some lawmakers questioning the Department of Social Services... More >>
23 hours ago Tuesday, January 28 2020 Jan 28, 2020 Tuesday, January 28, 2020 3:19:00 PM CST January 28, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 32°
4pm 34°
5pm 32°
6pm 31°
7pm 30°