A federal appeals court just delivered a major victory for the First Amendment and major blow to the Biden Administration’s censorship regime. It ruled that the Biden Administration and the executive agencies through which it works cannot coerce or significantly pressure social media companies into censoring, as doing so violates the First Amendment.
That appellate court was the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which partially upheld a lower court’s ruling in Missouri v. Biden on Friday. That lower court ruling had barred the FBI, the Centers for Disease Control, and the White House, along with certain individuals like White House Press Secretary Karine Jean Pierre and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, from pressuring social media companies into censoring content.
The decision reads, “Defendants, and their employees and agents, shall take no actions, formal or informal, directly or indirectly, to coerce or significantly encourage social-media companies to remove, delete, suppress, or reduce, including through altering their algorithms, posted social-media content containing protected free speech.”
Continuing, the ruling provided, “That includes, but is not limited to, compelling the platforms to act, such as by intimating that some form of punishment will follow a failure to comply with any request, or supervising, directing, or otherwise meaningfully controlling the social-media companies’ decision-making process.”
Commenting on that ruling, America First Legal said, “🚨BREAKING: The Fifth Circuit largely affirms the district court injunction in Missouri v. Biden, the social media censorship case involving the Biden Administration’s coercive conduct to censor speech online.”
🚨BREAKING: The Fifth Circuit largely affirms the district court injunction in Missouri v. Biden, the social media censorship case involving the Biden Administration's coercive conduct to censor speech online. pic.twitter.com/EmWf1jnBcs
— America First Legal (@America1stLegal) September 8, 2023
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey commented on the ruling as well, saying, “🚨BREAKING: The Fifth Circuit has upheld the district court’s order in our free speech case, Missouri v. Biden, enjoining the White House, Surgeon General, CDC, & FBI from violating the First Amendment rights of millions of Americans.”
Continuing, AG Bailey added, “The First Amendment remains intact. The first brick was laid in the wall of separation between tech and state on July 4th, and this ruling is yet another brick. Missouri will continue to lead the way in the fight to defend our most fundamental freedoms. But we’re not done yet. We’re just getting started.”
The First Amendment remains intact.
— Attorney General Andrew Bailey (@AGAndrewBailey) September 8, 2023
The ruling comes alongside recently unveiled documents showing that White House Digital Director Rob Flaherty had a meeting with Facebook executives in 2021, in which he pressured the Big Tech company to censor and suppress conservatives and non-legacy media companies to benefit traditional media like the New York Times.
“If you were to change the algorithm so that people were more likely to see NYT, WSJ, any authoritative news source over Daily Wire, Tomi Lahren, polarizing people. You wouldn’t have a mechanism to check the material impact?” Flaherty asked.
“We have to explain to President, Ron, people, why there is misinfo on the internet, bigger problem than FB. Where issues are, what interventions are, how well they are working, for products, want to engage in things that you know to be effective. I don’t even care about specific methodology, you have better, richer data than we’ll ever have,” he added.
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