But Buchwald was clearly serious about the proposal; as the two-hour hearing reached its close early Thursday afternoon, the judge urged the two sides to "consider my earlier suggestion".
"I don't know if muting is really the solution, but if all they really care about, which they say, is that he just doesn't want to hear from us, then he would mute, but obviously he wants to suppress our speech", Cohen said. They argue that Trump's Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, constitutes a public forum, and therefore denying them access to that account based on their views violates the First Amendment of the U.S. constitution. The group also argues that Trump has created a forum "purged of many critical voices", violating the rights of those who have not been blocked by the President on Twitter.
"I think that would be a great solution for me", Pappas said. If he muted those people instead, they would still be able to see and interact with his tweets, but he would never have to see their accounts again. Buchwald said that if a government official were to turn off the microphone at such an event in order to suppress unfavorable perspectives, that would understandably raise First Amendment questions.
"Once it is a public forum, you can't shut somebody up because you don't like what they're saying", said Reice.
In this analogy, the President is simply "choosing not to engage with a few individuals", he said. He is the president, after all, and his tweets are largely accepted to be official statements from the White House.
Blocked users are still capable of reading the president's tweets by logging out of their accounts, and could link to or screencap his tweets to criticize them.
To deny some Twitter users the ability to view and reply to these tweets is to deny their First Amendment right, the Knight Institute contends.
Fallow also rejected the notion that the @realdonaldtrump account is "purely personal".
It can not be the case that any personal medium of communication created or maintained by public officials in their personal capacity is subject to an all-or-nothing state action analysis when that person later becomes an officer of the state.
Buchwald will issue her decision at a later date.
"We've said from the outset that muting would be a less restrictive alternative than blocking, so we were pleased the judge raised this possibility", Jaffer said.