Dem AG’s Join Biden Admin In SCOTUS Case
The battle over online censorship and the First Amendment has reached the Supreme Court, with the state of California leading a coalition of 23 Democrat-led states in support of the Biden Administration's stance.
Attorney General Rob Bonta and his colleagues argue that a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit would have a "chilling effect" on the government's ability to collaborate with social media companies in addressing threats to public health and safety.
The case in question, Missouri v. Biden, was brought forth by Republican attorneys general in Missouri and Louisiana. They accused high-ranking government officials of working with social media giants to censor speech on various topics, including Hunter Biden's laptop, COVID-19 origins, and the effectiveness of face masks. The 5th Circuit's decision, which issued a preliminary injunction banning the government from coordinating with Big Tech platforms on user content, was deemed by the Democrats as "sweeping."
Attorney General Bonta argues that social media has become a major source of news and information for individuals across the country and that suppressing communication between the government and these platforms would be detrimental to the public interest. The 5th Circuit's ruling, according to Bonta, would jeopardize efforts to address issues such as extremism, child safety, and consumer protection, all of which require collaboration between the government and social media companies.
In his ruling, Judge Terry A. Doughty stated that if the allegations made by the Republican AGs were true, it could be considered "the most massive attack against free speech in United States' history." He also emphasized that the government's attempts to suppress alleged disinformation ignored the First Amendment's right to free speech. However, Bonta and his colleagues argue that maintaining open lines of communication between the government and social media platforms is vital for addressing concerns such as consumer fraud and protecting children from online harm.
The Democrat-led states also claim that the 5th Circuit's decision did not take into account the invaluable assistance the government can provide to social media companies in addressing these issues. They argue that collaborating with these platforms would be mutually beneficial and fully aligned with the principles of the First Amendment. For instance, by working together, the government and social media platforms can combat consumer fraud schemes more effectively.
Furthermore, the coalition argues that working with social media platforms is crucial in protecting children from online predators and other harms. With the rise of technology and social media, the risk of online exploitation and abuse has increased, making it essential for the government and these platforms to work hand in hand to keep children safe. By cutting off communication between them, the 5th Circuit's decision would only hinder efforts to address this critical issue.
The Democrat-led states argue that the decision would also negatively impact the government's ability to counter extremist violence online. With the rise of domestic terrorism and hate speech on social media platforms, it is crucial for the government and these companies to collaborate closely to address these threats. The coalition fears that the 5th Circuit's ruling could impede and delay crucial actions to curb such violent online behavior, putting the public's safety at risk.