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Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Trump administration Thursday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a lower-court ruling that the president can't block critics on Twitter because doing so violates the First Amendment.

The big picture: Trump's use of Twitter has been a defining feature of his presidency, with his habit of often posting and retweeting inflammatory and misleading content. Despite the earlier ruling and Twitter becoming more willing to push back on his false tweets, Trump largely has free rein on the platform.

The other side: The Justice Department, arguing on behalf of the government, says in a brief that allowing the ruling to stand would jeopardize public officials' ability to insulate their social media accounts from harassment.

  • The DOJ briefing argues that Trump uses his personal account "in part to announce official actions and policies."
  • "It seems likely... that this decision will have the unintended consequence of creating less speech if the social-media pages of public officials are overrun with harassment, trolling, and hate speech, which officials will be powerless to filter," the brief reads.

Backstory: The Knight First Amendment Institute first filed the case in 2017 on behalf of seven people blocked by Trump. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in 2018 that Trump's Twitter account is a "public forum" under the First Amendment and he cannot block speakers engaging on it due to their viewpoints.

What they're saying: The Knight Institute argues the lower court decision should remain in place.

  • "Public officials across the country now use social media as their main means of communicating with their constituents," Katie Fallow, a senior staff attorney at the Knight Institute, said. "Blocking people from these forums denies them access to important information and deprives them of the opportunity to engage with the officials who represent them."

Go deeper: Trump's unexpected 1st Amendment legacy

Go deeper

Trump's last stand against the truth

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump is pinning his hopes — and presidency — on a wild, relentless war against reality and truth, falsely claiming several states are stealing the election by adhering to their laws, rules, and long precedents. 

Why it matters: Trump fears the election will be called today, perhaps first by Fox News, and that his effort to get the Supreme Court to intervene will fail, officials tell Axios. 

27 mins ago - World

Taiwan leader confirms U.S. troops on island training forces

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei earlier this month. Photo: I-Hwa Cheng/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen told CNN Thursday that a small number of American troops are on the island for training purposes and she has "faith" the U.S. would defend the democracy against a Chinese military attack.

Why it matters: This is the first time a Taiwanese leader has publicly acknowledged the presence of U.S. troops on the self-governing island since the last U.S. garrison left in 1979, when Washington switched formal diplomatic recognition to Beijing.

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

NYC firefighters union urges members to defy mayor's vaccine mandate

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The president of New York City's firefighters union told reporters Wednesday that he's advised unvaccinated members to ignore Mayor Bill de Blasio's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers, per Reuters.

Why it matters: Under de Blasio's order that's due to take effect Friday, unvaccinated city employees would be placed on unpaid leave. But Uniformed Firefighters Association head Andrew Ansbro said he told members that "if they choose to remain unvaccinated, they must still report for duty," according to Reuters.