“We think there’s a First Amendment interest in providing continued access to that app and its functionality to the Chinese-American community,” Michael Bien, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, said Saturday.
Trump on Aug. 6 ordered sweeping but vague bans on transactions with the Chinese owners of WeChat and another popular consumer app, TikTok, saying they are a threat to U.S. national security, foreign policy and the economy.
The National Association of the Deaf and five deaf Americans have sued the White House, arguing that the lack of a sign language interpreter at President Trump’s coronavirus briefings violates the First Amendment.
The association is seeking to force Mr. Trump and other White House officials to use American Sign Language, or A.S.L., interpreters during “television broadcasts of their coronavirus press conferences and briefings to make them accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing people.”
The lawsuit contends that the refusal to provide in-frame sign language prevents the plaintiffs from accessing the communications provided by their elected representatives, thus violating their First Amendment rights.
It was one year ago this month that the Second Circuit ruled it unconstitutional for Trump to block users who criticize him — affirming a federal judge’s ruling that the block was a First Amendment violation.
“Upon learning about the practice, Acting Secretary Wolf directed the DHS Intelligence & Analysis Directorate to immediately discontinue collecting information involving members of the press,” a department spokesman said in a statement. “In no way does the Acting Secretary condone this practice and he has immediately ordered an inquiry into the matter. The Acting Secretary is committed to ensuring that all DHS personnel uphold the principles of professionalism, impartiality and respect for civil rights and civil liberties, particularly as it relates to the exercise of First Amendment rights.”