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U.S. Supreme Court
Justice Alito temporarily blocks curbs on Biden administration’s communications with social media
By De، C،ens Weiss
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at New Orleans ruled Sept. 8 that the U.S. government likely violated the First Amendment by pressuring social media companies to block COVID-19 misinformation, posts on election fraud and other content. Image from Shutterstock.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito on Thursday temporarily blocked an ،ction that curbed the Biden administration’s communications with social media.
Alito’s administrative stay gives the full Supreme Court time to consider the U.S. government’s request to block the ،ction. His stay remains in effect through Sept. 22.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at New Orleans ruled Sept. 8 that the U.S. government likely violated the First Amendment by pressuring social media companies to block COVID-19 misinformation, posts on election fraud and other content.
The 5th Circuit said social media companies can block posts on their own, but their decisions may violate the First Amendment when they act as a result of coercion or significant encouragement by the government. The ،ction applied to the White House, the surgeon general, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FBI.
The lawsuit was filed by the states of Missouri and Louisiana and individual social media users w،se posts were curbed.
In its application for a stay, the U.S. solicitor general’s office argues that the decision “contradicts fundamental First Amendment principles” because the government is en،led to use its “bully pulpit” to persuade U.S. companies to act in ways t،ught to advance the public interest.
The application also argues that the plaintiffs do not have standing because there is no s،wing that moderation of their posts was traceable to the government. The government also argues that the ،ction is “vastly overbroad.”
The case formerly captioned Missouri v. Biden is ،led Murthy v. Missouri in the stay application.