Supreme Court Blocks Social Media Anti-Censorship Law

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Mary Rooke Commentary and Analysis Writer
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The U.S. Supreme Court blocked a Texas anti-censorship law Tuesday that would ban social media platforms like Facebook from censoring dissenting opinions.

In a 5-4 vote, the Court granted the emergency request by technology companies to prevent Texas from enforcing Texas HB20, according to the Supreme Court’s brief.

Chief Justice John Roberts was joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett to stop Texas HB20 from going into effect until after the lawsuit goes through the lower courts.

The majority did not write an opinion.

Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Elena Kagan, and Neil Gorsuch dissented from the majority.

Alito wrote the dissenting opinion, joined by Thomas and Gorsuch, saying they would not have granted the application to vacate stay in this case because the application did not prove the lawsuit was winnable on the merits. (RELATED: REPORT: Supreme Court Prepares To Seize Clerk Phone Records As Part Of Leak Investigation)

“I cannot agree with the Court’s disposition,” Alito wrote. “To be entitled to vacatur of the stay, applicants must show, among other things, a ‘substantial likelihood of success on the merits.’ Members of this Court have argued that a determination regarding an applicant’s likelihood of success must be made under ‘existing law.’ And whether applicants are likely to succeed under existing law is quite unclear.”

Alito said he had not made a decision on the legality of the Texas law.

Although Kagan dissented, she did not join Alito’s written dissent. Kagan did say she would have denied the application allowing the Texas law to remain in effect, according to the brief.