Freedom of Speech, The National Anthem, and A Security Clearnace

U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald ruled today that President Trump cannot block people from his twitter account as a response to their political views. Judge Buchwald disagreed with Trump's defense that "the President's personal First Amendment interests supersede those of the plaintiffs". She further rejected the defense that injunctive relief could never be awarded against the president and stated, "no government official -- including the President -- is above the law". The court was clear,  the Plaintiff was blocked for their political opinion and had suffered view point discrimination. Initially, a group of Twitter users who had been blocked by Trump filed a lawsuit claiming that Trump's use of Twitter created "a kind of digital town hall in which the president and his aides use the tweet function to communicate news and information to the public". The initial lawsuit stated; "Because of the way the President and his aides use the @realDonaldTrump Twitter account, the account is a public forum under the First Amendment. Defendants have made the account accessible to all, taking advantage of Twitter's interactive platform to directly engage the President's 33 million followers". Judge Buchwald reasoned that because Twitter is designated as a public forum, blocking users based on their political speech constitutes viewpoint discrimination that violates the First Amendment".  Buchwald used the Supreme Court's three part test to determine if the speech was private or government. The test requires the court to consider; (1)If the speech has been used historically to convey state messages, (2) If it is "often closely identified in the public mind" with the government, and (3) How much "direct control over the messages conveyed" stems from the government.  

The National Football League received a considerable amount of political attention this past season - and it wasn't for deflated footballs. The league received a considerable amount of backlash when its players began to take a knee during the national anthem.  Today, NFL owners unanimously approved a new policy that requires players to stand if they are on the field during the performance of the national anthem but gives them the option to remain in the locker room if they prefer. Should a player or any other personal of the team be on the field and not show respect for the anthem, the team will be fined. Respect in this case is defined by the NFL as standing during the anthem, kneeling and or sitting will not be permitted. Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement saying; "We want people to be respectful of the national anthem. We want people to stand -- that's all personnel -- and make sure they treat this moment in a respectful fashion. That's something we think we owe. [But] we were also very sensitive to give players choices". Although the vote was reported as unanimous Jed York, San Francisco 49ers owner, abstained. 

After the conclusion of an interview with special counsel investigators, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law, is reportedly regaining a top security clearance. Kushner participated in two separate interviews with the special counsel, during which "all relevant topics were covered". These topics included the campaign, the presidential transition and post-inauguration events such as the firing of FBI Director James Comey. What did not make the list was Kushner's business and financial dealings. Kushner's clearance was downgraded this past February in an effort by the White House to enforce stricter security requirements as a result of then staff secretary Rob Porter's resignation.  Rudy Giuliani assured the public that he was not worried about Kushner's interview with the special counsel and "They could [can]spend all the time they want with Jared. He's got no knowledge of Russian collusion of any kind."