The Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments over the Fifth Circuit’s grant of a preliminary injunction in Missouri v. Biden. As I mentioned in previous posts, the injunction would bar officials from the White House, CDC, FBI, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and Surgeon General’s office from coercing or significantly encouraging social media platforms to censor constitutionally protected speech.
My fellow plaintiffs and I welcome this opportunity to defend the First Amendment rights of all Americans in the U.S. Supreme Court. We expect to hear from the Court soon regarding the hearing dates—it could be in February or March.
The Fifth Circuit panel of judges last month upheld the key components of U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty’s July 4 preliminary injunction order, prohibiting named federal officials from coercing or significantly encouraging social media companies to suppress legal speech.
That decision vindicated our claims that we—and countless other Americans—were blacklisted, shadow-banned, deboosted, throttled, and suspended on social media as part of the government’s years-long censorship campaign orchestrated by the federal government.
The Biden Administration’s censorship regime has successfully suppressed perspectives contradicting government-approved views on hotly disputed topics such as whether natural immunity to covid exists, the safety and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines, the virus’s origins, and mask mandate efficacy.
Beyond covid, the documents we’ve obtained on discovery demonstrate that the government was also censoring critiques of its foreign policy, monetary policy, election infrastructure, and lighting rod social issues from abortion to gender ideology.
The vast, coordinated, and well-documented effort has silenced influential, highly qualified voices including doctors and scientists like my co-plaintiffs Dr. Bhattacharya and Dr. Kulldorff, as well as those like Jill Hines who have tried to raise awareness of issues. Though the US Supreme Court temporarily stayed the Fifth Circuit’s injunction until they make a ruling, I believes the Justices are ultimately unlikely to permit the egregious First Amendment abridgements our case has exposed.
The Fifth Circuit recognized that the Plaintiffs did “not challenge the social-media platforms’ content-moderation policies.” Rather, Plaintiffs challenged the government’s unlawful efforts to influence “enforcement of those policies.” The government gravely harmed the ability of Americans to convey their views to the public, and it deprived Americans of their right to hear opinions that differ from the government’s. Judge Doughty strikingly described the Administration’s conduct as “arguably the most massive attack against free speech in United States history” and “akin to an Orwellian Ministry of Truth.” He was right, and the US Supreme Court must not permit it.
Here are some reactions to the news from our lawyers at NCLA:
“NCLA is thrilled to have the opportunity to vindicate the First Amendment rights of our clients, and all Americans, in the nation’s highest court. We are confident that after a thorough review of the disturbing facts in this important case—which involves unprecedented government-imposed, viewpoint-based censorship—the Court will recognize the grievous, unconstitutional nature of the government’s conduct and enjoin it.”
— Jenin Younes, Litigation Counsel, NCLA
“We are disappointed Americans’ First Amendment rights will be vulnerable to government infringement until this case is decided. But we are confident this Court, as strong as it is on First Amendment issues, will rule against the government and uphold our clients’ rights and liberties.”
— John Vecchione, Senior Litigation Counsel, NCLA
“If anything, the Fifth Circuit’s decision did not go far enough in enjoining the reprehensible conduct exposed in this case. The facts of this case show government agencies censored speech in a deliberate effort to control the narrative on several controversial topics ahead of the last election. The First Amendment forbids such censorship, and the Supreme Court must never allow such mischief again, if we are to keep our democracy.”
— Mark Chenoweth, President, NCLA
Republished from the author’s Substack
Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
For reprints, please set the canonical link back to the original Brownstone Institute Article and Author.