Fri. Jul 12th, 2024

Supreme Court tosses out claim Biden administration coerced social media companies to remove content

By 37ci3 Jun26,2024

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Wednesday denied allegations that the Biden administration illegally forced social media companies to remove controversial content.

In reaching its conclusion, the court struck down an order that, if allowed to stand, would have limited communication between government officials and social media companies on a wide range of issues. That’s how the Supreme Court used to be stop the command.

The court decided by a vote of 6-3 that the plaintiffs have no right to file a lawsuit.

President Biden speaks in Wisconsin
President Biden on May 8, 2024 in Sturtevant, Wis.Evan Vucci/AP

Writing for the majority, conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett said the plaintiffs, Republican attorneys general in Louisiana and Missouri, along with five social media users, failed to show they suffered harm at the hands of specific government officials.

He noted that social media platforms routinely screen content before alleged coercion occurs.

“In fact, independent platforms strengthened their existing content moderation policies before the government defendants got involved,” he said.

While the evidence suggests that government officials “play a role” in fair selection, that’s not enough to justify a sweeping injunction, Barrett wrote.

Plaintiffs have also failed to show that prior instances of content moderation can be traced back to government officials’ involvement with the platforms.

States have argued, for example, that a Louisiana state representative’s Facebook post about the Covid-19 vaccine was restricted due to government interference, but Barrett said there was “no evidence to support the states’ claim.”

Justice Samuel Alito, along with two other conservatives, Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Neil Gorsuch, wrote the scathing dissent.

Alito said the government’s actions were “clearly unconstitutional,” suggesting the dispute was “one of the most important free speech cases to reach this court in years.”

The majority “allows a successful campaign of coercion in this case to serve as an attractive model for future officials seeking to control what the public says, hears, and thinks.” Alito said the fact that the coercion was “more subtle” than other examples made it “even more dangerous.”

Janine Younes, a lawyer with the New Civil Liberties Alliance, which represents the individual plaintiffs, said the court “has given the green light to an unprecedented regime of government censorship.”

His clients include doctors questioning Covid-19 policies and Jim Hoft, founder of the right-wing news site The Gateway Pundit.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice declined to comment.

The plaintiffs filed the main suit, alleging that US government officials went too far in pressuring platforms to moderate content.

The lawsuit includes various allegations of activities that took place in 2020 and before, including efforts to prevent the spread of false information about Covid and the presidential election. Donald Trump was president at the time, but the district court’s ruling focused on the government’s actions after Joe Biden took office in January 2021.

Last July, U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty in Louisiana ordered officials to “contact any social media company that solicits, encourages, pressures, or in any way encourages the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected content.” prohibited. free speech”.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans later narrowed the scope of Doughty’s decision. But the appeals court still ordered the White House, the FBI and top health officials to “not coerce or substantially encourage” the disclosure. social media companies to remove content the Biden administration deemed disinformation.

The case is one of two in which judges have ruled the term in a so-called “jawbone” practice, in which private parties lean on private parties to do what the government wants, sometimes threatening negative consequences if demands are not met.

Otherwise, the court decided In favor of the National Rifle Association, which claims a New York state official illegally pressured the companies to stop doing business with the gun rights group.

Opponents of the government’s actions say each case violated the Constitution’s First Amendment, which protects free speech rights.

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By 37ci3

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