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Was Casey Cagle’s Tweet Against Delta Legal? Actually, It Was

Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle's tweet about Delta Cagle’s tweet got some questioning whether a public official can openly say he's going to block a proposed policy change that would benefit a private company.
Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle's tweet about Delta Cagle’s tweet got some questioning whether a public official can openly say he's going to block a proposed policy change that would benefit a private company.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

Twitter was still buzzing with reaction a day after Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle tweeted he would “kill any tax legislation that benefits Delta.”

The tweet came after Delta Air Lines announced it would sever ties with the National Rifle Association.

Cagle’s tweet got some Twitter users questioning whether a public official can openly say he’s going to block a proposed policy change that would benefit a private company.

Robert Schapiro teaches Constitutional law at Emory’s Law School.

“Generally a government or a government official is allowed to express his or her views on a particular issue,” Schapiro said. “The First Amendment generally protects the right to express that opinion.”

Cagle’s tweet was in reference to a bill that would eliminate sale’s tax on jet fuel.

Eric Segall, a law professor at Georgia State University, said if Delta wanted to sue it would have to prove it was being punished for a stance it took.

“If Delta had this tax credit and Georgia said we’re taking it away from you because of this, that feels and smells worse than we’re not giving you a tax exemption that we were thinking about giving you,” Segall said.

He said Cagle’s tweet could be used to prove intent in future actions he may take.

Gov. Nathan Deal’s spokesperson said Tuesday that the governor has no comment on the tweet.