Constituents of Congressman Ryan Costello blocked on Facebook or barred from attending town halls because of their criticism of the congressman
Attorneys/Firms: Witold Walczak, Molly Tack-Hooper, and Michelin Cahill, ACLU of Pennsylvania; Seth Kreimer, University of Pennsylvania Law School
On March 12, 2018, the ACLU of Pennsylvania wrote to U.S. Representative Ryan Costello on behalf of nine of his constituents whom he has blocked on his congressional Facebook page or barred from attending his town hall meetings in retaliation for criticizing the congressman. Many of the constituents named in the letter had regularly expressed their opinions to the congressman or protested outside his Pennsylvania offices before being blacklisted by the congressman.
The letter explains that the First Amendment prohibits public officials from cutting off their constituents’ access to forums for speech based on the constituents’ viewpoints. It demands that the congressman unblock everyone and restore everyone’s access to his public events by March 19, 2018, or risk litigation.