Hello. I'm Tod. I'm a Texan, Twitter user, and now, a persona non grata as far as my U.S. Senator is concerned.
This is why I'm asking for your help today.
You see, Senator John Cornyn, the senior Senator from the great state of Texas, has, for reasons unknown, decided to block my access to his Twitter account during this time of crisis. I honestly and truly don't know why.
It's hard for me to understand why Senator Cornyn has chosen to block me, but I do know that I have not violated Twitter's terms of service in any way. The best guess I have is that I tweeted about election cyber security, and specifically Senator Cornyn's inaction when it comes to ensuring free and fair elections in Texas, and the Senator took umbrage at this criticism.
What I do know is, when Senator Cornyn blocked my ability to tweet, retweet, or reply to his tweets, he has effectively blocked my First Amendment right to petition my government on the basis of my political and professional viewpoints.
This is deeply troubling, not to mention somewhat baffling. Why would my Senator do this? After all, there are plenty of examples of political figures blocking their constituents on social media, only to have those blocks ruled as civil rights violations by several Circuit Courts of the United States. Unfortunately, the Fifth Circuit Court is not one of those courts, but I'll get to that in a second.
Anyway, I attempted to find out why I was blocked, assuming it was in error. Senator Cornyn has been asked via letter, fax, voicemail, and of course, tweet and retweet, numerous times, and he continues to block me. So, at great personal expense, I have been forced to file suit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division to protect my rights and your rights online.
You can look up my case under the docket number 1:20-cv-00456-LY. If you are a PACER user, you can use this link:
I also maintain a website, also at cost:
You can use this site to follow along as things develop with this unfortunate case.
Finally, I realize that there are other health- and life-critical matters for many, many people here in Texas. COVID-19 is a deeply serious crisis affecting literally everyone in the world, despite what Senator Cornyn might otherwise believe.
So, if you are in a position to help out this Texan, and, by extension, all Texans, exercise their First Amendment rights, I would appreciate it. That said, I also urge you to instead consider donating to your local food bank, shelter, or Planned Parenthood in order to help others in this time of need.
In the (unlikely) event I collect too much money with this GoFundMe, you can be assured that the excess will be donated to a worthy local cause along those lines here in Austin, Texas.
Thanks so much for your time, and stay safe out there, and feel free to hit me up on Twitter at @todb with the hashtag #1AforTexans
- Pearce Barry
- James Barnett
- Jorge Huerta
- Brent Cook
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