For Immediate Release:
PRESS RELEASE: The Libertarian Party of Iowa (LPIA) and Thomas Halterman filed a lawsuit against Iowa Senator Claire Celsi in federal court for violating the First Amendment rights of Iowans.
Senator Celsi recently engaged in unconstitutional conduct, namely in limiting the Iowa voter’s ability to engage in discourse on her Twitter account, @claire4iowa. Mr. Halterman, a resident of Iowa District 21 and a registered voter, made several attempts to participate in a civil discussion regarding issues brought up by the Senator on her Twitter account. Similarly, LPIA Chair Joseph Howe, along with multiple commentators on Twitter, challenged Senator Celsi’s position on 2nd Amendment rights. After a civil conversation on the matter, Senator Celsi blocked several of the participants from her Twitter account, demonstrating a general lack of regard for the diverse political voices of Iowans everywhere.
This conduct was recently found to be a violation of the 1st Amendment by a federal court. Specifically, the court held that President Trump could not block individuals on his Twitter account as it was an infringement on their ability to petition their government for redress of grievances. It is unfortunate to see an Iowa Senator engaging in the same conduct.
In the past, Senator Celsi has publicly invited Iowans to contact her in order to discuss any issues or concerns. As Iowans frequently use social media to communicate and elected officials use their social media accounts as public forums in which to discuss political issues, the LPIA has no other choice but to protect the 1st Amendment rights of Iowans by pursuing legal action against the Senator.
We contend that Senator Celsi’s Twitter account (@claire4iowa) is used to discuss her political agenda as a Senator, and therefore she must respect Iowans’ 1st Amendment rights to participate in discussion in this forum. Blocking Iowans from her Twitter account degrades the citizen’s ability to exercise his or her 1st Amendment rights by restricting the ability to engage in discourse with an elected official. Indeed, days after tweeting that journalists are “guardians of our democracy,” Senator Celsi blocked Adam Sullivan of the Cedar Rapids Gazette from her Twitter account.
Due to our party’s strong belief in the protection of our constitutionally guaranteed rights, the Plaintiffs, through their counsel Julia A. Ofenbakh, has filed the following suit and expect that through this process, the 1st Amendment rights of all Iowans will be treated with increased respect.
Please see court filing via this link: Celsi Petition
We continue to fund raise for court related expenses, any contribution is appreciated and will fight for the 1st Amendment rights of Iowans, click “Donate to the LPIA” to contribute.