Today, the Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari in two cases:
Lindke v. Freed and O’Connor-Ratcliff v. Garnier, Nos. 22-611, 22-324: Both cases involve whether and to what extent public officials’ activity on social media constitutes “state action” subject to constitutional scrutiny. In the O’Connor-Ratcliff case, the Ninth Circuit held that school board members engaged in state action when they blocked constituents on Facebook and Twitter. In the Lindke case, by contrast, the Sixth Circuit held that a city manager did not engage in state action when he blocked a constituent on Facebook. The question presented in Lindke is: Whether a public official engages in state action subject to the First Amendment by blocking an individual from the official’s personal social media account, when the official uses the account to feature their job and communicate about job-related matters with the public, but does not do so pursuant to any governmental authority or duty. The question presented in O’Connor-Ratcliff is substantially the same.