Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University et al v. Trump et al

Filing 57

LETTER addressed to Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald from Jameel Jaffer dated December 21, 2017 re: the government's concession concerning the President's tweets. Document filed by Rebecca Buckwalter, Philip Cohen, Holly Figueroa, Eugene Gu, Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, Brandon Neely, Joseph Papp, Nicholas Pappas.(Jaffer, Jameel)

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December 21, 2017 Via ECF and by Fax The Honorable Naomi Reice Buchwald United States District Court for the Southern District of New York 500 Pearl Street, Room 2270 New York, NY 10007-1312 Re: Knight First Amendment Institute, et al. v. Trump, et al., Case No. 17-CV-5205 (NRB) Dear Judge Buchwald, Plaintiffs submit this letter to alert the Court to the government’s concession, made during a recent oral argument before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, that President Trump’s tweets are official statements. The government’s concession was made during en banc oral argument held on December 8, 2017 in International Refugee Assistance Project v. Donald Trump, No. 17-2231 (4th Cir.) (“IRAP”), a case concerning the lawfulness of the President’s revised travel ban. The Fourth Circuit does not make oral argument transcripts available, but an audio recording of the argument is available at The colloquy in which Department of Justice Deputy Assistant Attorney General Hashim M. Mooppan addressed the legal significance to be given to President Trump’s tweets took place between 36:07 and 37:08 of the audio file, including in the following exchange at 36:54-37:01: JUDGE PAMELA HARRIS: “And it is the Department’s position, right, that these—the President’s Twitter account—those are official statements of the President of the United States?” MR. MOOPPAN: “Right.” Following this exchange, several judges asked Mr. Mooppan to confirm that he was acknowledging that the President’s tweets are official statements, and Mr. Mooppan so confirmed. The government’s concession to the court in the IRAP argument provides further support for Plaintiffs’ argument, set forth in memoranda 535 West 116th Street, 314 Low Library, New York, NY 10027 | (212) 854-9600 | supporting Plaintiffs’ pending motion for summary judgment, that Defendants’ operation of the President’s Twitter account is state action subject to the First Amendment. Respectfully, Jessica Ring Amunson (pro hac vice) Tassity S. Johnson (pro hac vice) Jenner & Block LLP 1099 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 900 Washington, DC 20001 /s/ Jameel Jaffer Jameel Jaffer (JJ-4653) Katherine Fallow (KF-2535) Carrie DeCell (motion for admission forthcoming) Alex Abdo (AA-0527) Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University 314 Low Library 535 West 116th Street New York, NY 10027 (212) 854-9600 Counsel for Plaintiffs 2

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