Supreme Court Takes Up Landmark Government Censorship Case

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The Supreme Court on Friday took up Missouri v. Biden, the free speech case challenging the Biden administration’s efforts to censor content on social media, while issuing a pause on a preliminary injunction granted by a lower court.

Republican attorneys general from Missouri and Louisiana sued the Biden administration over its communications with social media companies related to the suppression of online speech, arguing it violated the First Amendment. District of Louisiana Judge Terry A. Doughty issued an injunction in July blocking certain parts of President Joe Biden’s administration from colluding with social media platforms to censor content online. The Supreme Court paused the injunction, but agreed to take up the case, according to the court order. (RELATED: Rand Paul Stymies Cyber Bills Over DHS Agency’s Alleged Censorship)

“A majority of the Court, without undertaking a full review of the record and without dissenting any explanation, suspends the effect of that injunction until the Court completes its review of this case, an event that may not occur until late in the spring of next year,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his opinion, dissenting from the decision to stay the injunction. “Government censorship of private speech is antithetical to our democratic form of government, and therefore today’s decision is highly disturbing.”

Government officials likely breached the First Amendment by suppressing protected speech, the district court found. The lower court’s injunction asserts that government actors are barred from “collaborating, coordinating, partnering, switchboarding, and/or jointly working with” research groups and projects that champion censorship.

The Biden administration had asked the Supreme Court to freeze the injunction after an appeals court partially affirmed it in September. It may have opened itself up to a more expansive ruling on its social media censorship collusion.

“This is the worst First Amendment violation in our nation’s history,” Republican Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey said in a statement Friday. “We look forward to dismantling Joe Biden’s vast censorship enterprise at the nation’s highest court.”

The most recent version of the injunction, issued by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in October, narrowed the scope of the ruling to only certain Biden administration officials.

“We are pleased to learn that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear this case, giving us yet another opportunity to defend the people from this assault on our First Amendment rights,” Louisiana Solicitor General Liz Murrill said in a statement Friday. “It brings us one step closer to reestablishing the protections guaranteed to us in the Constitution and under the First Amendment. We hope that the Supreme Court will agree that this gross abuse of power must stop and never happen again.”

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