The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that Biden administration officials likely violated First Amendment rights by “bullying” Big Tech companies to censor free speech during the COVID-19 plandemic.
The White House “coerced the platforms to make their moderation decisions by way of intimidating messages and threats of adverse consequences,” the ruling states.
“So, in other words, the Biden administration forced social media companies to remove our posts that were critical of the Biden administration or made the Biden White House look bad,” Fox News host Jesse Watters said.
A bombshell ruling by the 5th circuit court today, finding the Biden White House, the FBI and the CDC violated the First Amendment rights of millions of Americans… pic.twitter.com/YYWuXs3HcQ
— Jesse Watters (@JesseBWatters) September 9, 2023
“The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals UPHELD the District Court ruling in Missouri v. Biden, yet again enjoining the Biden Administration from colluding with social media companies to censor speech. This is yet another big win – I’m proud to have filed this case,” said former Missouri Attorney General and Senator Eric Schmitt (R-MO).
🚨BREAKING: The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals UPHELD the District Court ruling in Missouri v. Biden, yet again enjoining the Biden Administration from colluding with social media companies to censor speech.
This is yet another big win – I'm proud to have filed this case. pic.twitter.com/0ZrTudrUa1
— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) September 8, 2023
“Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey announced today that the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld his free speech case, Missouri v. Biden, by enjoining the White House, Surgeon General, FBI, and CDC from continuing to violate the First Amendment rights of millions of Americans,” Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s office said in a statement.
“We filed this landmark lawsuit against dozens of officials in the federal government to halt the biggest violation of the First Amendment in our nation’s history. The first brick was laid in the wall of separation between tech and state on July 4. Today’s ruling is yet another brick,” Bailey said.
“Missouri will continue to lead the way in the fight to defend our most fundamental freedoms,” he added.
Read more from Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey:
The Fifth Circuit wrote, “We find that the White House, acting in concert with the Surgeon General’s office, likely (1) coerced the platforms to make their moderation decisions by way of intimidating messages and threats of adverse consequences, and (2) significantly encouraged the platforms’ decisions by commandeering their decision-making processes, both in violation of the First Amendment.”
The Court continued, “the officials made express threats and, at the very least, leaned into the inherent authority of the President’s office. The officials made inflammatory accusations, such as saying that the platforms were ‘poison[ing]’ the public, and ‘killing people.’ The platforms were told they needed to take greater responsibility and action. Then, they followed their statements with threats of ‘fundamental reforms’ like regulatory changes and increased enforcement actions that would ensure the platforms were ‘held accountable.’ But, beyond express threats, there was always an unspoken ‘or else.’”
The Court continued, “We find that the FBI, too, likely (1) coerced the platforms into moderating content, and (2) encouraged them to do so by effecting changes to their moderation policies, both in violation of the First Amendment. We start with coercion. Similar to the White House, Surgeon General, and CDC officials, the FBI regularly met with the platforms, shared ‘strategic information,’ frequently alerted the social media companies to misinformation spreading on their platforms, and monitored their content moderation policies. But, the FBI went beyond that—they urged the platforms to take down content. Turning to the Second Circuit’s four-factor test, we find that those requests were coercive.”
The Biden administration intends to appeal the ruling and requested the U.S. Supreme Court to temporarily block the lower court’s order.
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito issued an administrative stay on the ruling until September 22, 2023.
“The government has filed at the SCOTUS, asking them to allow continued censorship. Alito placed a stay on the injunction until 9/22,” UncoverDC Editor-in-Chief Tracy Beanz wrote.
“I don’t expect the SCOTUS will find the Biden admin arguments very persuasive.”
🚨NEW- Missouri v. Biden:
The government has filed at the SCOTUS, asking them to allow continued censorship. Alito placed a stay on the injunction until 9/22.
I don’t expect the SCOTUS will find the Biden admin arguments very persuasive. Will thread as soon as I can.… https://t.co/j3gpj85Rvv
— Tracy Beanz (@tracybeanz) September 14, 2023
“The government filed a motion to stay the injunction in Missouri v. Biden. Translation: we’re going to the Supreme Court. I am confident that SCOTUS will concur with the district and appellate court rulings to halt the government’s censorship regime. Onwards!” said Aaron Kheriaty.
BREAKING: The government filed a motion to stay the injunction in Missouri v. Biden. Translation: we're going to the Supreme Court. I am confident that SCOTUS will concur with the district and appellate court rulings to halt the government's censorship regime. Onwards!
— Aaron Kheriaty (@AaronKheriatyMD) September 14, 2023
HUGE DEVELOPMENT in the Missouri and Louisiana v. Biden First Amendment lawsuit challenging the government’s collusion with Big Tech to suppress the speech of millions of Americans.
— The Gateway Pundit (@gatewaypundit) September 15, 2023
SCOTUS blog reports:
The Biden administration on Thursday afternoon asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block a lower court’s order that would limit its ability to communicate with social media companies over content moderation policies. U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar told the justices that if the “unprecedented” order is allowed to stand, it would put a Louisiana district judge in charge of overseeing the executive branch’s communications with social media companies.
Shortly after receiving the government’s request, Justice Samuel Alito — who handles emergency requests from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit — put the lower court’s order on hold until the end of the day on Friday, Sept. 22, to give the justices time to rule on the request. Alito also directed the plaintiffs to file a response to the government’s application by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 20.
The dispute arises from the federal government’s efforts to combat the spread of misinformation on social media by flagging content for social media platforms and urging them to remove that content. The lawsuit was filed by Republican attorneys general in Missouri and Louisiana, as well as four individual plaintiffs whose social media posts on controversial topics such as the COVID-19 lab-leak theory and vaccine side effects were removed or downgraded. They argued that the government “coerced, threatened, and pressured social-media platforms to censor” them, which violated the First Amendment.
The federal government countered that it had only sought to “mitigate the hazards of online misinformation” by flagging content that violated the platforms’ own policies.
In the United States, there’s no such thing as ‘mis or disinformation.’
The men and women of the United States have the inalienable right to freedom of speech.
In addition, the First Amendment protects freedom of speech.
I don’t know why they don’t know this, but “Mis and disinformation” are constitutionally protected speech. pic.twitter.com/1kbWCnsYnK
— Tracy Beanz (@tracybeanz) September 14, 2023