Biden administration requests U.S. Supreme Court block order curbing social media contact

By: - September 14, 2023 2:03 pm
The exterior of the U.S Supreme Court

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The federal government is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block a court order restricting it from communicating with social media companies about posts spreading misinformation.

In a petition filed Thursday, President Joe Biden’s administration argues the the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling earlier this month is an example of judicial overreach that would “impose grave and irreparable harms on the government and the public”

The Supreme Court should block the injunction from going into effect while the justices decide whether to hear the case, the federal government argues, signaling a plan to appeal the 5th Circuit’s decision.

Earlier this month, an appeals court in Louisiana concluded the Biden administration “ran afoul of the First Amendment” by trying to suppress social media posts that it considered misinformation.

The Biden administration argues the appeals court erred by failing to distinguish between “persuasion” and “coercion.” Social media companies were asked to remove posts considered to be harmful misinformation, the filing states, but the federal government never forced them to do so.

“(The appeals court) held that officials from the White House, the Surgeon General’s office and the FBI coerced social-media platforms to remove content despite the absence of even a single instance in which an official paired a request to remove content with a threat of adverse action,” U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar wrote in the court filing.

The lawsuit was filed last year by former Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry. It alleges the federal government colluded with social media companies like Twitter and Facebook to suppress the freedom of speech.


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Jason Hancock
Jason Hancock

Jason Hancock has spent two decades covering politics and policy for news organizations across the Midwest, with most of that time focused on the Missouri statehouse as a reporter for The Kansas City Star. A three-time National Headliner Award winner, he helped launch The Missouri Independent in October 2020.