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Florida Asks Supreme Court To Decide If First Amendment Allows Social Media Censorship

REUTERS/Octavio Jones

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Trevor Schakohl Legal Reporter
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Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and other state officials asked the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday to resolve if a state law that would have forced social media companies to allow political candidates on their platforms violates the First Amendment.

In May, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling halting enforcement of parts of Florida’s S.B. 7072, which would have fined social media companies for excluding candidates for office and barred them from deplatforming media companies due to their content, among other measures. Moody and associates’ appeal asked the Supreme Court to rule on whether the First Amendment prohibits states from forcing social media companies to host communications and to explain why they censor any particular user.

On Friday, The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of parts of Texas’ HB 20, generally banning platforms with over 50 million monthly U.S. users from censoring them based on their viewpoints. Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel of social media company representative NetChoice, argued that the decision “undermines First Amendment protections and creates a circuit split with the unanimous decision of the Eleventh Circuit.” (RELATED: ‘The Future Is Uncancelable’: Once-Banned Social Media Company Aims To Protect Online Speech)

“We agree with Florida that the U.S. Supreme Court should hear this case, and we’re confident that the First Amendment rights of websites will be upheld,” Szabo said of Florida’s new Supreme Court appeal in a press release. “We look forward to seeing Florida in Court and having the lower court’s decision upheld. We have the Constitution and over a century of precedent on our side.”

Moody’s office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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