A federal judge on Tuesday shot down former President Donald Trump’s bid to sue Twitter in a favorable court district, The Associated Press reports.
Trump earlier this year filed a lawsuit against Twitter and Facebook in a Florida district court, accusing them of violating his First Amendment rights even though the amendment only protects speech from the government.
The lawsuit dubiously argues that the social media companies have been pressured by Congress to crack down on misinformation, claiming that makes them “government actors.”
Trump and attorney John Coale both bragged that they shopped for a court that would see the case in a more favorable way.
"We think we're in the right area," referring to the federal district court in South Florida.
Facebook and Twitter both have terms of service that state that any legal action against them must be filed in federal court in Northern California, where they are based.
Trump argued that the requirement did not apply to him because his account was suspended while he was president.
Florida District Judge Robert Scola on Tuesday rejected that argument and ruled that Trump must move his suit to a California court.
Scola in his ruling noted that Trump agreed to the terms of service as a private citizen when he first joined the social network in 2009.
“First, Trump’s former status as the president of the United States does not preclude the application of the forum selection clause. Second, the forum selection clause is valid and mandatory,” Scola wrote.
“Twitter’s forum selection clause is mandatory, not permissive,” he added.
Trump also filed a lawsuit against YouTube, which similarly won a ruling to move the case to California.
Florida District Judge Michael Moore rejected Trump’s argument that the lawsuit relates to a “localized controversy” in the state where he lives.
“The Court finds that this case does not present a localized controversy that favors keeping this litigation in the Southern District of Florida,” the judge wrote. “To the contrary, this case involves issues that are national in scope.”