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Here’s a funny story about Twitter that has nothing to do with Elon Musk! Well … almost nothing. It does, however, involve the former president and his ongoing campaign to throw flaming sacks of dogsh*t at the federal docket attached to $402 checks to cover the filing fee, so our regular cast of miscreants will be well-represented.

In July of 2021, Trump sued Twitter, Meta, and YouTube for tortiously deplatforming him. His theory was that Congress’s threats to reform or repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which immunizes platforms for user-generated content, magically transformed the platforms into servants of Reps. Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi. Having thus been transubstantiated into government actors, their suspension of Trump’s account amounts to government censorship, in violation of the First Amendment. TA DAAAAA!

Or more like BA DUM TSSSSSS. In May, US District Judge James Donato yeeted the Twitter suit into the sun on grounds of shut up, that’s not how any of this works. (Well, more or less.) After which, Trump appealed to the Ninth Circuit, hiring disgraced former Judge Alex Kozinski to disgrace himself even more by carrying this rancid water. The Circuit has not yet ruled, but the District Court cases against Meta and YouTube are on ice pending the appeal.

In the meantime, Trump’s compadre in the Twitter suit, COVID-truther Naomi Wolf, filed a motion for indicative ruling in August, citing “new evidence” of government coordination with the company. See, one time the CDC pointed to one of her tweets as misinformation, and thus Judge Donato should issue an order stating that he would consider granting relief to Wolf under Rule 60 based on this “newly discovered” evidence. In September, Twitter opposed the motion, saying that the evidence was neither new nor earth-shattering.

Judge Donato hasn’t yet ruled, but yesterday he issued a show cause order sua sponte wondering why this motion isn’t moot.

Publicly available information suggests that circumstances may have changed with respect to Wolf’s claims and Twitter’s current practices. Consequently, Wolf is directed to show cause in writing why her claims present a live controversy, and whether her request for an injunction, which is the main remedy she seeks, is tenable.

In point of fact, Wolf had her Twitter account restored after Musk bought the company, as has Donald Trump. So Wolf is now free to hyperventilate to her heart’s content that COVID shots cause infertility, or whatever insane nonsense she comes up with tomorrow. So how exactly is there a live controversy here?

Wolf’s response is due January 23. No doubt it will be reasoned a level-headed, as with all her other filings.


Trump v. Twitter [Docket via Court Listener]

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics.

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