President Donald Trump and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are diametrical opposites in nearly every way, except perhaps for their shared home state of New York and their social media dominance.
But now there may be another thing that binds the two: a federal appeals panel ruling Tuesday that Trump, a Republican, has been violating the Constitution by blocking people from following him on Twitter because they criticized or mocked him.
That ruling is now the basis of two lawsuits filed against Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat, accusing her of blocking people because of their opposing political stances.
Ocasio-Cortez has 4.7 million followers on her personal Twitter account, @AOC, which she uses to frequently discuss policy and advocate her proposals.
Dov Hikind, a former assemblyman from Brooklyn, New York, who is the founder of Americans Against Anti-Semitism, said he regularly replied to Ocasio-Cortez’s tweets, but was blocked Monday.
Joseph Saladino, a YouTube personality known as “Joey Salads” who is running for a congressional seat representing Brooklyn and Staten Island, said he was blocked May 9.
But because Ocasio-Cortez uses the account to discuss policies that affect them, she cannot use it to “suppress contrary views” and violate his First Amendment rights to free speech, Hikind said in his lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.
“It’s very clear based on the court’s ruling that AOC is violating my constitutional rights,” Hikind said. “She doesn’t want me to be a part of the discussion and conversation.”
Saladino filed a separate lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. He said his complaint is a test of whether there is a double standard in the courts for liberals and conservatives.
“At the end of the day, it’s like a social experiment to see if the standards will apply equally,” Saladino said. “Will the courts rule the same way against AOC as Trump?”
Corbin Trent, a spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez, declined to comment about pending litigation.
“It comes down to the First Amendment,” said Jacob Weinstein, Hikind’s lawyer. “Twitter is a public forum.”