A Trump-appointed federal judge has blocked members of the Biden administration from meeting and communicating with Big Tech companies after they were accused of colluding to control the COVID-19 narrative.
On Tuesday, Judge Terry A. Doughty said that “during the COVID-19 pandemic… the United States Government seems to have assumed a role similar to an Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth.'”
Doughty’s ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed by the Republican attorney generals in Louisiana and Missouri who alleged that the government had censored Republican viewpoints and banned Conservative voices from being able to express their own opinions during the height of the COVID pandemic.
While government officials insisted that it was necessary for them to work with Big Tech to combat “misinformation,” it was ultimately decided that federal agencies and officials will be barred from engaging in certain communications with social media companies about content that is posted to their platforms.
Those specifically named in the ruling and thus being barred from contact with social media companies were Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, and all employees of the Justice Department and the FBI.
Doughty ruled that these specified parties could not talk to social media companies “for the purpose of urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech.”
Judge Doughty concluded that the Plaintiffs “produced evidence of a massive effort by Defendants, from the White House to federal agencies, to suppress speech based on its content.”
“The targeted impression of conservative ideas is a perfect example of viewpoint discrimination of political speech,” wrote Doughty in his ruling. “American citizens have the right to engage in free debate about the significant issues affecting the country.”
There are, however, exceptions specified by Doughty including a national security threat, criminal activity, or voter suppression.
Celebrating this ruling, Senator Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.) tweeted, “Big win for the First Amendment on this Independence Day. I’m proud to have led the fight.”
🚨BREAKING: A Federal Judge in Missouri v. Biden just granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting the FBI, DOJ, DHS & other agencies from working with Big Tech to censor on social media
Big win for the First Amendment on this Independence Day🇺🇸
I’m proud to have led the fight. pic.twitter.com/59FzDVuI4f
— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) July 4, 2023
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey also posted about the ruling, writing, “What a way to celebrate Independence Day.”
“But we’re not done yet,” he added. “We’re just getting started.”
But we’re not done yet. We’re just getting started.
— Attorney General Andrew Bailey (@AGAndrewBailey) July 4, 2023