In this photo illustration, a Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile phone with President Trump's Twitter page shown in the background on May 27, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia. - US President Donald Trump threatened Wednesday to shutter social media platforms after Twitter for the first time acted against his false tweets, prompting the enraged Republican to double down on unsubstantiated claims and conspiracy theories. Twitter tagged two of Trump's tweets in which he claimed that more mail-in voting would lead to what he called a "Rigged Election" this November. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)
Hear both sides of the debate over free speech on social media
05:43 - Source: CNN Business
CNN  — 

The president who complains about censorship by Twitter wants to censor people himself.

On Thursday, the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to overturn a lower court’s decision and grant President Donald Trump the ability to block his critics on Twitter.

The petition seeks to revive a case decided by a New York federal judge in 2018. At the time, Judge Naomi Buchwald said Trump violated the First Amendment when he sought to stifle his online critics because portions of his Twitter account are considered a public forum. A three-judge panel upheld the ruling on appeal.

Thursday’s Supreme Court petition argues that the lower courts got it wrong.

“The President uses his account to speak to the public, not to give members of the public a forum to speak to him and among themselves,” the petition reads.

The Knight First Amendment Institute, which brought the original case, said the court should reject the petition.

“This case stands for a principle that is fundamental to our democracy: government officials can’t suppress speech simply because they disagree with its message,” said Jameel Jaffer, the organization’s executive director, in a statement.