Federal Judge blocks Biden Administration from contact with social media companies

A Federal judge is stepping in to prevent your social media posts from being censored.
Published: Jul. 5, 2023 at 5:42 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A Federal judge is stepping in to prevent your social media posts from being censored.

Louisiana U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty, who was nominated by President Trump and confirmed by the Senate in 2018, sided with Attorney General Jeff Landry and other plaintiffs in their 2022 case against social media companies flagging posts that certain agencies deemed to be misinformation.

Judge Doughty cited “substantial evidence” of a far-reaching censorship campaign. Adding the evidence in the case suggested “the United States government seems to have assumed a role similar to an Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth.’”

“We have continuously said that this is most likely one of the most important first amendment cases, certainly in the history of the country and certainly in modern times,” said the Attorney General in an interview Wednesday afternoon.

The AG’s lawsuit alleged federal agencies overstepped their boundaries to try and convince social media companies to block posts that could result in vaccine hesitancy or loss of faith in our elections in exchange for favorable or unfavorable regulatory action.

“When Americans out there express their frustrations or their beliefs and the government believes, in some kind of way they can stifle that or suppress that...that’s just not the case. The first amendment guards that right,” Landry continued.

The agencies mentioned in the ruling include the Department of Health and Human Services and the FBI, prohibiting them from “encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech.”

“What the judge essentially ruled is that it’s not just the Biden administration but it’s a number of individuals and some other think-tank related people, non-profit foundations things like that. They’re now precluded from meeting with social media companies to even discuss false information on the web or on social media platforms from having any kind of dialogue with a social media company at all,” said Baton Rouge Attorney, Jill Craft.

Having handled many first amendment cases herself, Craft says after reviewing the judge’s ruling, she’s worried the line in the sand that was trying to be established is not clear enough.

“When people step in and attempt to regulate behavior that has largely been undefined for decades it’s never really a bright line because there never really is such thing as a bright line,” added Craft.

Both Craft and the Attorney General believe the case will be appealed, and ultimately be challenged all the way up to the Supreme Court.

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