BALTIMORE - The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland has filed a lawsuit against Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan for blocking users and deleting users' comments on his Facebook page.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of four people who claim they have been censored by Hogan on social media because of their differing viewpoints with the governor's policies and say their First Amendment rights have been violated.
“The highest purpose of the First Amendment is to protect the right of Americans to engage in political speech and to petition the government to address their concerns," said Deborah Jeon, legal director for the ACLU of Maryland. "As the Supreme Court ruled in June, and a federal judge in Virginia echoed just last week, social media has become a vital means for constituents to communicate with their elected officials. It violates both the First Amendment and Maryland's own social media guidelines for government officials to block out any voices of dissent or those simply raising questions about positions taken by public officials sworn to serve."
The lawsuit comes after the ACLU wrote a warning letter of possible legal action back in February to Gov. Hogan about blocking seven people who attempted to question or challenge the governor’s policy positions on his Facebook page.
The ACLU said Hogan never responded to their letter, but did unblock most of the users identified in the letter. However, some of them were later blocked again after trying to post on Hogan’s page, according to the organization.
President Donald Trump is also facing questions about censorship and is facing a lawsuit for the blocking of followers from his Twitter account. The ACLU of Kentucky has also filed a lawsuit against Gov. Matt Bevin for blocking users on Facebook and Twitter.