ACLU sues Maine’s governor for deleting Facebook comments and blocking users

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine today announced that it is suing Maine Gov. Paul LePage for deleting comments from his official Facebook page that disagree with his viewpoints. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of two women who say they’ve had their accounts blocked from further commenting on Gov. LePage’s profile, claim the act is a form of censorship and violates the country’s free speech protections.

The ACLU of Maine originally sent a formal complaint letter to Gov. LePage on July 24th, but did not hear a response before filing today’s lawsuit in the state’s US district court. The plaintiffs claim the governor’s Facebook page is used as an official social media venue for sharing information and conducting state business, which should be used as a public forum for receiving public comments from Maine constituents.

“Social media has quickly become a crucial tool for constituents to express their opinions to public officials,” said Meagan Sway, an attorney with the ACLU of Maine.

“The governor should stop censoring people in public forums just because he disagrees with them,” Karin Leuthy, one of the women who’ve had their profile blocked by Gov. LePage, adds. “Maine will be a stronger state if those in power listen to people from across the political spectrum.”

Today’s lawsuit mirrors one filed against President Donald Trump last month, which claims blocking users based on difference of opinion is unconstitutional. The ACLU also filed a similar lawsuit against Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin last week for the same reason as the case against Gov. LePage.

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