A new court ruling says the Biden administration has disregarded the First Amendment, after pressing social media companies to censor conservative views.
Federal Judge Terry Doughty of the Federal District Court of Louisiana issued a broad preliminary injunction barring the Biden administration and multiple federal agencies from communicating with social media companies about online content. Doughty ruled that the Biden administration’s coercion of social media companies into online censorship blatantly violated the First Amendment.
“The present case arguably involves the most massive attack against free speech in United States history,” wrote Doughty in his 155-page ruling.
Notably, the defendants in this case include the Biden administration, the Federal Investigation Bureau (FBI), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
The lawsuit, filed by the Republican Attorney Generals of Missouri and Louisiana, accused the Biden administration of pressuring social media companies to heavily censor conservative views on the origins of COVID-19, government-ordered health measures, and election security. The plaintiffs argued that the White House essentially coerced social media companies into suppressing ideas and content disliked by the Biden administration.
Moreover, in the official ruling, Doughty compares the Biden administration’s actions to George Orwell’s famous novel “1984.”
“The evidence produced thus far depicts an almost dystopian scenario,” wrote Doughty. “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.'”
Alternatively, according to the U.S. Department of Justice Department, the Biden administration executed “necessary steps” to dispose of and prevent disinformation.
Nonetheless, Doughty’s ruling on Missouri v. Biden is a historic landmark, as it is one of the most consequential First Amendment cases in the U.S. in recent years.
According to Doughty, his ruling is not a ban on all government communications with social media companies and does nothing to prevent “permissible” public government speech, as social media companies are still allowed to inform the government about criminal posts and activity.
However, Missouri v. Biden is merely one of dozens of federal cases filed against the Biden administration concerning social media censorship via federal coercion.
Gov. Greg Abbott sees Missouri v. Biden as a great success for free speech.
“[Missouri v. Biden is] a win for free speech,” Abbott tweeted. “Social media companies cannot be allowed to silence opposing views.”
Abbott cited House Bill 20, which illicitly prevented social media companies from banning users’ posts based on political viewpoints. Before HB 20 was officially enacted in Texas, the bill underwent heavy review by the U.S. Supreme Court before going into effect in 2022.
The DOJ is expected to appeal Doughty’s injunction.