Biden Admin Censorship Free Speech

Federal Judge Rules Against Biden Admin Attack on Free Speech

The temporary injunction bars government agencies from suppressing free speech.
Image via mikemacmarketing, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

By Diego Ramos / Original to ScheerPost

Judge Terry Doughty of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana ruled that several federal agencies and officials from the Biden administration cannot collaborate with social media companies in restricting certain speech.

Doughty wrote in his introduction to the ruling, “If the allegations made by Plaintiffs are true, the present case arguably involves the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history.”

The ruling states officials and agencies from the Biden administration are restrained from communicating with social media firms “for the purpose of urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech posted on social-media platforms.”

The ruling does not restrict the government from speaking to companies regarding criminal activity, national security threats, voter suppression, foreign attempts to influence elections and other malicious activity.

The lawsuit brings up issues such as COVID-19 health policies, the origins of the pandemic, election security, Hunter Biden’s laptop and others as those targeted for suppression.

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Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey described the case as the “most important First Amendment lawsuit in a generation.”

Doughty wrote in the ruling, “The Plaintiffs have presented substantial evidence in support of their claims that they were the victims of a far-reaching and widespread censorship campaign,” and, “This court finds that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their First Amendment free speech claim against the Defendants.”

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said in a statement, “The evidence in our case is shocking and offensive with senior federal officials deciding that they could dictate what Americans can and cannot say on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other platforms about COVID-19, elections, criticism of the government, and more.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, Director of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and other State Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials were named in the injunction.

Doughty also likened the evidence to a dystopian scenario. Specifically, “During the COVID-19 pandemic, a period perhaps best characterized by widespread doubt and uncertainty, the United States Government seems to have assumed a role similar to an Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth.’”

Republican U.S. Sen. Eric Schmitt said the ruling is “a huge win for the First Amendment and a blow to censorship.” Schmitt was the Missouri attorney general when the suit was filed.

A report from the Wall Street Journal claims lawyers involved in the case say, “Never before has a federal judge set such sweeping limits on how the federal government may communicate with online platforms, according to lawyers involved in the case.”

An anonymous White House official commented to AP News stating: 

“This administration has promoted responsible actions to protect public health, safety, and security when confronted by challenges like a deadly pandemic and foreign attacks on our elections… Our consistent view remains that social media platforms have a critical responsibility to take account of the effects their platforms are having on the American people, but make independent choices about the information they present.”

The New York Times and other publications have also quoted Jameel Jaffer, the executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. “It can’t be that the government violates the First Amendment simply by engaging with the platforms about their content-moderation decisions and policies… If that’s what the court is saying here, it’s a pretty radical proposition that isn’t supported by the case law,” Jaffer said in a Times report.

Read the seven page judgment and 155 page ruling below:

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