The Court agreed to hear the case, which could affect how the First Amendment is applied when it comes to social media.
On the plus side, the Supreme Court will hear the case Missouri v. Biden.
Louisiana, Missouri, and private parties sued the administration for telling social media platforms to remove posts that went against the government’s stances on issues such as COVID.
The United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana ruled the plaintiffs would likely prove their case and placed an injunction on the administration from contacting the platforms.
The injunction stops two things:
- The government cannot “coerce” social media platforms to make moderation decisions.
- The government cannot “meaningfully contro[l]” of the platforms’ moderation efforts.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the District Court, finding a “‘a coordinated campaign’ of unprecedented ‘magnitude orchestrated by federal officials that jeopardized a fundamental aspect of American life.’”
The Fifth Circuit also issued a modified injunction.
The government appealed
Alito, instead, extended the injunction.
The government replied for another stay, which came with the petition to hear the case.
This time the Court granted the stay. Justices Alito, Gorsuch, and Thomas dissented.
Alito, writing for the three justices, said the officials had to prove likely irreparable harm if the stay did not happen.
Alito wrote that the government only provided hypothetical statements. This *might* happen. That *might* happen. No proof.
The government also complained the ban would prevent Biden from talking “to the public on matters of concern.”
Alito blasted the assertion because Biden is not the injunction’s subject, nor does it prevent any government official from talking about any matter.
Alito then crushed the majority for staying the injunction:
Despite the Government’s conspicuous failure to establish a threat of irreparable harm, the majority stays the injunction and thus allows the defendants to persist in committing the type of First Amendment violations that the lower courts identified. The majority takes this action in the face of the lower courts’ detailed findings of fact. But “[w]here an intermediate court reviews, and affirms, a trial court’s factual findings, this Court will not ‘lightly overturn’ the concurrent findings of the two lower courts.”
In conclusion, Alito fears what the government can do between now and the time the Supreme Court rules on the case:
At this time in the history of our country, what the Court has done, I fear, will be seen by some as giving the Government a green light to use heavy-handed tactics to skew the presentation of views on the medium that increasingly dominates the dissemination of news. That is most unfortunate.
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