Two New York Republicans have announced that they are suing Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over being blocked from viewing and interacting with her personal Twitter account.
Former Democratic state lawmaker Dov Hikind and congressional candidate Joseph Saladino, who is planning to run in the Republican primary, announced their lawsuit against the Democratic congresswoman on Tuesday. Their goal is to gain a court order that will force Ocasio-Cortez to unblock them from her account on the social media platform.
Both men announced their intentions of the lawsuit on Twitter. A tweet addressing his grievances came from Saladino in conjunction with the news of the lawsuit being announced in a press release. His July 9th tweet reads:
“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!”
Hikind, the other Republican to call out Ocasio-Cortez’s supposedly discriminatory online behavior and to join in the lawsuit, spoke on the issue during an interview with Fox News. He argued that since President Trump is not allowed to block critics from his official Twitter account because of his standing as a public official, other political officials should be held to similar standards.
“Just today the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a ruling that elected officials cannot block individuals from their Twitter accounts, thereby setting a precedent that Ocasio-Cortez must follow,” Hikind told the network. “Twitter is a public space, and all should have access to the government officials on it.”
Hikind claims that the New York congresswoman blocked him after he was critical of her on Twitter, and mentions other critics that she's also blocked, such as conservative journalist Ryan Saavedra.
Saladino also added in his press release, “If we can’t talk to one another, the whole system breaks down …Look what is happening in my district when entrenched NeverTrumpers are confronted by America First ideas. Like it or not, we live in the same city and we need to be professional.”
It is very likely that all it would take for the lawsuits to be dropped is for the congresswoman to comply with the demands of her nay-sayers and simply unblock them. Attorney John Browning of Southern Methodist University says, “If Rep. Ocasio-Cortez were to unblock the individuals in question, the court would likely dismiss the lawsuits on the grounds of mootness, unless some issue remained—such as deciding how or to what extent the blocked individuals had been damaged, if at all. But in all likelihood, the cases would either be voluntarily dismissed or dismissed by the court, since there wouldn't still be any real issue in controversy for the court to decide.”
Ocasio-Cortez, who has become somewhat of a rockstar on Twitter within the past several months—gaining a large following in the millions and regularly clocking tens of thousands of likes and retweets on the platform—has yet to comment on the lawsuit.