CNN legal analyst Elie Honig on Wednesday called a new ruling limiting the federal government’s influence over social media companies “dramatic.”
Judge Terry A. Doughty of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana issued an injunction Tuesday ruling the Biden administration and other federal agencies suppressed free speech in an “Orwellian” manner during the pandemic. Doughty ruled members of the Biden administration, including officials with the FBI and Department of Health and Human Services could not communicate with 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.”
Honig called the ruling “dramatic” and accused Doughty of harboring “conservative political ideology.”
“It is a dramatic decision by this judge,” Honig said. “He is citing to literature and George Washington, Ben Franklin. Here is what is astonishing to me, this is a conservative ideology that clearly comes through in this decision. It is a conservative political ideology. We saw some of the quotes questioning vaccines, questioning masks – conservative talking points. But the ruling is opposite of judicial conservatism. This is one of the most aggressive, far reaching rulings you will ever see.” (RELATED: ‘State-Sponsored Thought Policing’: Matt Taibbi Tells Congress About Vast Online Censorship Network)
“What this judge is purporting to do is to micromanage really the day to day intersection actions between essentially the entire executive branch, all these agencies that are listed as defendants and the leading social media companies. And the temporary injection the judge basically says, ‘you are not allowed, administration, to talk to the social media companies about any protected free speech except for cybersecurity threats, national security threats, criminal threats.’ But where’s the line? Who’s gonna police this? This judge is trying to micromanage day-to-day regular activities of the entire executive reach.”
“This is a very activist judicial opinion,” he continued, noting he’s not necessarily saying it’s a bad thing.
The suit was brought by Louisiana and Missouri which alleged that Biden officials “went too far” in their efforts to stifle discussions of topics like election integrity and vaccines. Facebook, for example, routinely took direction from the CDC regarding COVID-19 moderation and fact-checking policies throughout 2021.