The lawsuit was brought by former Democratic New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind who said in the complaint that he was blocked after he had been critical of the freshman congresswoman on multiple occasions. Ocasio-Cortez sought to dismiss the case in a court filing on Aug. 7.
Hikind, the founder of Americans Against Anti-Semitism, criticized Ocasio-Cortez as a “coward” after he said she blocked him to disable his comments without citing an offensive comment.
“It’s clear to me that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is a coward,” Hikind said in a statement to The Epoch Times on Aug. 8. “With millions of followers why is she still so afraid of what I have to say?”
The lawsuit, which was filed on July 9, claimed that Ocasio-Cortez excluded Twitter users who have criticized her and her positions as a Congresswoman by blocking them to suppress their views.
“This practice is unconstitutional and must end,” the complaint stated.
The suit also brought up a recent federal appeals court ruling that found President Donald Trump violated the first amendment when he blocked users from viewing and commenting on his Twitter messages.
In that case, the court ruled that Trump’s Twitter account, which has over 60 million followers, is operating as an official rather than a personal one, and determined that using Twitter’s block feature was the same as a government official excluding people he or she does not agree with from a public forum.
The court rejected Trump’s lawyer’s argument that the president was using his account in a personal capacity. Parker said the account was private before Trump became president but after he took office, it was being used “as a channel for communicating 2 and interacting with the public about his administration” and bears “all the trappings of an official, state‐run account.”
Hikind argued in his suit that Ocasio-Cortez’s @AOC account “regularly posts and engages in both news, events, political speech, and advocates for her positions” and as “an important public forum for speech.”
Responding to the complaint in the court filing, Ocasio Cortez admitted that she regularly posts to the active @AOC account but denied that the way she uses the account “makes it a public forum under the First Amendment.” It also denied that the federal appeals court ruling applies in her case.
“Frankly, I’m shocked that this is the best defense she could come up with,” Hikind said. “Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is seeking a dismissal as it appears she’s under the impression that what’s law for the President of the United States is not law enough for her.”
The congresswoman’s popular personal @AOC account has more than 5 million followers, at the moment of this writing. Ocasio-Cortez uses the @AOC account to posts about her policies like the Green New Deal and her political stances on a range of issues. The freshman congresswoman also maintains an official @RepAOCaccount, which only has 186,000 followers, at the moment of this writing.
Ocasio-Cortez has blocked several prominent commentators, political figures, and journalists over the course of the year who appear to not align with her views points. Some people she has blocked include OANN’s Liz Wheeler, The Daily Wire’s Ryan Saavedra, and Republican congressional candidate Joseph Saladino—who has also filed a lawsuit against the congresswoman for blocking him.
“I have officially filed my lawsuit against AOC for blocking me on twitter,” Saladino said in a July 9 Twitter post. “Trump is not allowed to block people, will the standards apply equally? Stay tuned to find out!”
I have officially filed my lawsuit against AOC for blocking me on twitter.
Trump is not allowed to block people, will the standards apply equally?
Stay tuned to find out! pic.twitter.com/0RmHI7x9Qc
— Saladino for Congress (@JoeySalads) July 9, 2019
In a separate Twitter post, Saladino shared a screenshot of his account trying to view the profile of Ocasio-Cortez.
Here is screenshot for reference pic.twitter.com/ygb1QyH5Ht
— Saladino for Congress (@JoeySalads) July 10, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Epoch Times reporters Bowen Xiao and Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.