The Supreme Court has agreed to determine whether social media companies can collude with the government to censor the speech of Americans.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in September that numerous federal officials violated the U.S. Constitution by coordinating with social media companies to censor content during the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2022 Midterm Elections.
The Fifth Circuit found the federal government, from the White House to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), illegally coordinated with social media companies to restrict content on “a host of divisive topics like the COVID-19 lab-leak theory, pandemic lockdowns, vaccine side-effects, election fraud, and the Hunter Biden laptop story.”
The Fifth Circuit opined,
[The nation’s judicial system] has rarely been faced with a coordinated campaign of this magnitude orchestrated by federal officials that jeopardized a fundamental aspect of American life.
As a result, the court prohibited dozens of government officials from contacting social media companies to influence their content moderation decisions.
The lawsuit was filed by Drs. Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff, professors from Stanford and Harvard respectively, both epidemiologists who co-authored the Great Barrington Declaration in 2020. Other parties to the lawsuit included Jill Hines, Aaron Kheriaty, Jim Hoft and the states of Missouri and Louisiana.
The federal government promptly appealed the Fifth Circuit’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which will hear the case. Until then, the high court has agreed to stay (stop) the Fifth Circuit’s ruling.
Justice Alito, joined by Justices Thomas and Gorsuch, dissented from the high court’s decision to stay the Fifth Circuit’s ruling while the case plays out.
Justice Alito wrote,
Government censorship of private speech is antithetical to our democratic form of government, and therefore today’s decision is highly disturbing.
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.
Justice Alito’s opinion is especially striking, given that, more often than not, these entities target and silence Christian and conservative voices.
But we can remain hopeful that in the end, the Supreme Court will choose to protect Americans’ unalienable right to free speech.
As the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states,
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The Daily Citizen will keep you updated of important developments in this case.
The case is Murthy, et al. v. Biden.
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