President TrumpDonald John TrumpKoch group pours nearly M into ads to boost three GOP Senate candidates Gillum wins stunner and other takeaways from Arizona, Florida McSally prevails in nasty Arizona GOP Senate primary MORE on Tuesday unblocked dozens of Twitter users, allowing them to see his account and posts, after a letter was sent to the Justice Department urging the president to comply with a court order ruling his feed to be a public forum.
Reuters reports that the unblocking of some users came at the request of The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, which sent a request to the Justice Department earlier this month detailing the accounts, which are just some of the total number of accounts that had been blocked by the president.
At least 20 individuals on the list confirmed to Reuters that they were unblocked on Tuesday. The list reportedly includes authors and film producers who have publicly criticized the president.
Other critics of the president, including actress Rosie O’Donnell, told the news service that they remained blocked from Trump’s feed, though it was not known if O’Donnell was on the list.
Twitter’s blocking feature prevents blocked users from seeing an account’s posts or replying to them, which Trump has used to silence critics who respond directly to his tweets.
Trump’s Twitter account is followed by more than 54 million people around the world, and a federal judge ruled in May that the president was violating the rights of Americans by not allowing them to respond to Trump’s messages.
The Justice Department has maintained opposition to the ruling, claiming that the account “belongs to Donald Trump in his personal capacity and is subject to his personal control, not the control of the government.”
A judge wrote in a 75-page opinion in May that Trump can “mute” users or ignore them, but cannot prevent them from commenting on his feed.
“No First Amendment harm arises when a government’s ‘challenged conduct’ is simply to ignore the [speaker], as the Supreme Court has affirmed ‘that it is free to do,’ ” the judge wrote. “Stated otherwise, ‘a person’s right to speak is not infringed when government simply ignores that person while listening to others,’ or when the government ‘amplifies’ the voice of one speaker over those of others.”