Judge Sides With Boebert On Cancelling Constituents
As the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter reports, a federal judge ruled Friday that freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert is not obligated to “unblock” a dissenting constituent from her personal Twitter account, rejecting the argument that Boebert uses both personal and “official” Twitter accounts interchangeably:
“The First Amendment’s protection of the people’s right to free speech, like other rights protected by the Constitution, is implicated only when the government, not a private entity or individual, regulates speech,” wrote the judge, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump.
Buentello, a Democrat, sued Boebert, a Republican, in January and sought a preliminary injunction that would have forced Boebert to unblock Buentello. She cited cases in which courts found that elected officials, including Trump, cannot block constituents. Buentello, who lives in Pueblo, is a Boebert constituent.
Boebert, who was represented by congressional lawyers, argued that Buentello failed to distinguish between Boebert’s personal account, @laurenboebert, and her government account, @repboebert. Buentello is only blocked from viewing and interacting with Boebert’s personal account.
Rep. Boebert’s “personal” Twitter account has the vastly larger following (616k vs. 142k), and is certainly the better-known of the two accounts. Neither account contains a link to the other in the description, and an ordinary person running across one of these accounts would have no reason to assume the other exists at all. In her lawsuit, former state Rep. Bri Buentello argued that because Boebert uses her primary account for a wide array of presumably official communications, the distinction between a “personal” and official account was meaningless.
Although Boebert obtained a favorable ruling affirming her right to block constituents whose opinions she doesn’t like from her ostensibly “personal” account, optically this of course cannot be considered any kind of win. It reinforces the image of Boebert as a paper tiger who can’t back up her tough Tweets when challenged. Coming from the side of the contemporary political debate over “cancel culture” which is demanding that dissenting political voices not ever be deplatformed, celebrating Boebert’s right to block people who disagree with her on Twitter is counterintuitive to say the least.
Apparently, not all “cancel culture” is created equal.