Woman sues after Louisiana lawmaker blocked her on Twitter

Feb 8, 2023, 9:08 PM | Updated: Feb 9, 2023, 12:25 pm
FILE - Rep. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe, talks to reporters about her bill asking voters to add langu...

FILE - Rep. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe, talks to reporters about her bill asking voters to add language into the state constitution declaring that it doesn't protect abortion rights, on May 21, 2019, in Baton Rouge, La. A New Orleans woman says in a federal lawsuit Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023, that she was illegally blocked from Jackson's Twitter account after posting comments critical of the lawmaker's anti-abortion efforts. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte, File)

(AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte, File)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Louisiana woman filed a lawsuit Thursday arguing that a state senator’s Twitter account is a public forum and therefore the lawmaker shouldn’t be allowed to block posts critical of her anti-abortion efforts.

Maya Detiege, a supporter of abortion rights, was blocked from posting on the Twitter account of Monroe Democratic Sen. Katrina Jackson, according to the lawsuit that was filed in federal court in Monroe.

Detiege’s lawsuit comes amid continued political battles and international scrutiny of Twitter and other social media platforms and their efforts to avoid spreading misinformation.

The Louisiana lawsuit seeks a declaration that Jackson violated Detiege’s First Amendment right to free speech, and a court order that her access to post comments on Jackson’s account be restored.

“Because as a public official she opened up a public forum, she cannot silence views she does not like from that public forum,” attorney Katie Schwartzmann, who filed the suit as head of the New Orleans-based Tulane First Amendment Law Clinic, said in an email.

In an email responding to a request for comment, Jackson’s legislative assistant said the lawmaker had not yet seen the lawsuit.

Federal courts in at least two other regions have agreed, with perhaps the most prominent case resulting in a 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against former President Donald Trump. After Trump left office hat case was ordered dismissed as moot by the Supreme Court, which hasn’t made a definitive ruling on the issue.

Jackson, like Gov. John Bel Edwards, is a rare prominent Democrat who opposed abortion rights. She was a main sponsor of legislation to make abortion in Louisiana illegal following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning abortion rights.

Detiege’s lawsuit notes her angry responses to Jackson’s support of anti-abortion legislation and also notes other people who were blocked by Jackson after posting opinions opposed to hers.

“Senator Jackson has no compelling or important interest in blocking users engaged in lawful speech, including Ms. Detiege,” the lawsuit states.

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Woman sues after Louisiana lawmaker blocked her on Twitter