Sen. Candelaria wars against First Amendment. Blocks critic from Twitter
New Mexico state Sen. Jacob “I Am A Senator!” Candelaria is a lawyer, but maybe he doesn't read opinions from the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Or maybe Sen. “I'll Call The Governor On You!” Candelaria doesn't care about the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That's the amendment—in case Candelaria hasn't read it recently—that restricts government regulation of private speech.
Or maybe Candelaria admires President Donald Trump and wants to be just like him. Because Candelaria is doing just that. Like Trump, Candelaria has blocked from what appears to be his official state Senate Twitter account someone who has different political views than he does.
This past week, Candelaria blocked attorney Tom Grover from his Twitter feed after Grover questioned how Candelaria characterized state police officers who showed up at the senator's house to investigate an alleged threat against Candelaria. Grover, a former police officer who often represents cops, also said that he questioned whether the phone message left on Candelaria's cell phone really constituted a threat. As you can see from the screenshot below, this looks like Candelaria's official state Senate Twitter account.
(Photo: Blocked! Message attorney Tom Grover received from Candelaria's Twitter feed)
If Candelaria had read the Second Circuit's 2019 First Amendment Institute v Donald Trump decision he would know that public officials can't block people who disagree with them from their social media accounts. Here are some quotes from that decision:
“We do conclude, however, that the First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise‐open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees. … President Trump is only one of thousands of recipients of the messages the Individual Plaintiffs seek to communicate. While he is certainly not required to listen, once he opens up the interactive features of his account to the public at large he is not entitled to censor selected users because they express views with which he disagrees.”
Here's the full opinion for Candelaria to read.
Grover told me that he was respectful in trying to engage Candelaria on the senator's Twitter feed, but that he was blocked because Candelaria apparently didn't like his (Grover's) views. And that, Grover and the Second Circuit say, is illegal.
“If you have a lawmaker who is flagrantly and recklessly violating peoples' free speech rights, that is problematic,” Grover told ABQReport. “But it reveals his personality and questions whether he is fit for office.”
If Candelaria gets offended by and has contempt for, people who disagree with him, then he should get out of politics and public life. If he can't accept differing opinions he should quit. Unless, of course, he believes he has a corner on the truth and wants to dictate to everyone else how they should think and act. Because in today's political climate half the people are going to agree with you and the other half will think a jerk.
And based on Candelaria's disgusting behavior in threatening to call the governor on police officers who showed up to try and help him, I'm betting that more than half the people think he's a jerk.