The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Biden administration likely violated the First Amendment in a landmark decision highlighting the fundamental American value of free speech. The Missouri v. Biden case delved into the government’s coercion aimed at social media and tech companies, pressuring them to suppress dissenting opinions.
This isn’t a minor slip-up but a stunning overreach that threatens the bedrock of our democracy. According to the 5th Circuit, the government “coerced the platforms to make their moderation decisions by way of intimidating messages and threats of adverse consequences.” This is an affront to free speech, one of the most sacred pillars of our nation’s foundation.
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) September 9, 2023
At issue is the Biden administration’s efforts to suppress content that questioned or criticized its COVID-19 policies. The court found extensive evidence pointing to years-long pressure campaigns to ensure social media censorship aligned with the government’s preferred viewpoints. It’s an Orwellian scenario where those who claim to defend democracy are its most direct violators.
Even more concerning, the court found the FBI also improperly attempted to censor discussions on social media about election information. When the government employs such aggressive tactics to suppress dissenting voices, particularly on platforms like X, formerly known as Twitter, it’s hard to see it as anything but a direct assault on the First Amendment.
Fifth Circuit just unanimously affirmed Judge Doughty’s injunction against White House, CDC, FBI and others — giving Americans and #FreedomOfSpeech a major win against censorship, totalitarianism, and Biden. #FirstAmendment
— AG Jeff Landry (@AGJeffLandry) September 8, 2023
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, who filed the lawsuit with Missouri, hailed the ruling as a “major win against censorship, totalitarianism, and Biden.” For anyone who cares about the Constitution, it’s hard to disagree. The government’s behavior, according to the court, “jeopardized a fundamental aspect of American life.”
Yet, the White House’s response was as tone-deaf as we have come to expect. They stated that their 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.” If only the administration had practiced what they preach. Instead, they tried to do the choosing for the platforms.
Be sure you read the whole ruling but here are some fantastic excerpts showing that the court feels there is actual harm from this censorship, distinct cause to see these actions as coercive and legitimate evidence that the first amendment rights of @DrJBhattacharya… https://t.co/VsgNGK4HgL pic.twitter.com/dnhGXiH7nL
— Justin Hart (@justin_hart) September 9, 2023
Under the new ruling, the administration has ten days to seek a Supreme Court review. But irrespective of the legal battle ahead, this decision is a significant win for conservatives and, more importantly, for the integrity of the American democratic system. It underscores that freedom of speech is not subject to the whims of those in power, even when they believe their cause is just.
This case is more than just a battle over social media censorship; it’s a flashing red light warning us that our First Amendment rights are not as secure as we may think.