Sunday, April 15, 2018

BREAKING: Arizona ACLU Refiles Suit Against Rep. Paul Gosar For Blocking Constituents On Facebook (READ COMPLAINT)

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD4) is facing a lawsuit refiled this past week by two constituents who had been blocked from his official Facebook page.

The Arizona Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union ("ACLU") and local media law expert Dan Barr have teamed up to refile the action on behalf of J'aime Morgaine and Paul Hamilton. (The new complaint - filed in U.S. District Court - is below.)

Morgaine and Hamilton are both constituents of Rep. Gosar's who are active in different chapters of the anti-Trump Indivisible movement. Both discovered that they were prohibited from participating in Facebook town hall events or threads on the Congressman's official Facebook page.

After Gosar took heat last October for a national interview (aired on HBO) in which he - among other controversial remarks - defended his blocking policy (by inferring that it had to do with physical safety), he announced that he was unblocking "all previously blocked constituents."

Morgaine's initial lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed in February, amidst service issues. It was re-filed on Tuesday.

Barr tells Arizona's Politics tonight that he is "happy to be working with the ACLU of AZ to prevent Rep. Gosar from unconstitutionally blocking constituents from his official Congressional Facebook page."

The plaintiffs are seeking to prevent Gosar from either re-blocking them or blocking other individuals under his current social media policy, and to declare that policy as violating constituents' Constitutional rights under the First and Fifth Amendments.

(h/t to Arizona Informer, for complaining that their self-described "snarky" Twitter account has been blocked by #AZ08 candidate Tipirneni, and that it was akin to public official Gosar's constituent-blocking.  This prompted us to check on the status of the Gosar case. While we agree that it is politically stupid for a candidate to block anyone that is not harassing, we can see that there is a difference between a candidate and an already-elected public official.)

(Disclosure: Arizona's Politics has been blocked by a couple of Maricopa County and Arizona politicians, usually for asking some questions over Twitter. We have not taken legal action...yet.)

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