LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A federal judge ordered that a civil rights lawsuit against state Senator Jason Rapert (R-Conway) can proceed to trial.
U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker said the plaintiffs, the national American Atheists group, have a "fair chance" of winning the lawsuit against Rapert because he used his social media pages as a state official.
The lawsuit alleges four people who live in Arkansas were "unconstitutionally blocked" from Rapert's social media pages after expressing "viewpoints different than his one several issues."
"Rapert has repeatedly called our lawsuit against him 'frivolous.' Today's decision should put an end to that ridiculous claim," said Geoffrey Blackwell, a lawyer at American Atheists. "The Arkansans Rapert has blocked will get their day in court, and we have every confidence we'll prevail."
Baker also said that the plaintiffs won't be allowed to seek monetary damages against Rapert.
In July, the New York Times reported that a federal appeals court ruled that President Donald Trump was violating the Constitution when he blocked people from his Twitter account.
On Facebook, Rapert responded to the ruling saying, "the very idea that a federal judge would force me or YOU to allow people who use profanity and personal attacks access to your own social media is ludicrous."
"Can you imagine a court demanding a black legislator or Jewish legislator be forced to allow KKK members to keep posting hate messages on their social media pages," Rapert said.
The state senator also asked in the Facebook post to donate to Holy Ghost Ministries, where he is the founder and president of the ministry.