Biden needs to pay for this!
A U.S. District Court judge has issued a temporary order preventing White House officials from engaging in discussions with tech companies regarding social media censorship. The judge, Terry A. Doughty from Louisiana, argues that such actions in the past likely violated the First Amendment.
According to Fox, the injunction, issued on Tuesday, is in response to recent lawsuits filed by attorneys general from Louisiana and Missouri. These suits allege that the White House coerced or strongly urged tech companies to suppress free speech during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Judge Doughty has prohibited several federal officials and agencies, including some members of President Biden’s Cabinet and White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, from contacting social media companies in an attempt to suppress speech.
The lawsuits name Google, Meta (formerly Facebook), and Twitter as defendants.
The injunction, obtained by Fox News, states that the government’s actions “likely violate the Free Speech Clause” and that the court is unconvinced by the arguments presented by the defendants, dealing a significant blow to the White House.
Judge Doughty expressed his concerns in the injunction, likening the government’s role during the pandemic to an Orwellian “Ministry of Truth.” He further emphasized that if the allegations made by the plaintiffs are true, this case could involve the most massive attack on free speech in U.S. history. The injunction points out that the federal government, and specifically the defendants in this case, have allegedly disregarded the First Amendment’s right to free speech in their attempts to suppress alleged disinformation.
The injunction also highlights that the alleged censorship in this case primarily targeted conservative speech, but the issues raised in this case go beyond party lines.
Judge Doughty argued that viewpoint discrimination, such as what is alleged in this case, is an especially severe form of content discrimination. He emphasized that the government should refrain from regulating speech when the restriction is based on the specific ideology or perspective of the speaker.
These cases may significantly limit future interactions between tech companies and government officials. However, exceptions could be made in cases involving national security threats or criminal matters on social media.
The injunction received positive responses from the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana on Tuesday. Missouri AG Andrew Bailey tweeted, “Happy birthday America. You get your First Amendment back!!!” Louisiana AG Jeff Landry stated in a press release, “Today’s historic ruling is a big step in the continued fight to prohibit our government from unconstitutional censorship. We look forward to continuing to litigate the case and will vigorously defend the injunction on appeal.”