Did Government ‘Coerce’ Tech Giants? Supreme Court Weighs Arguments in Landmark Censorship Case

The U.S. Supreme Court today heard arguments in a case that could determine if the U.S. government can legally pressure tech companies to remove content from social media platforms without violating the First Amendment.

The arguments pertained to a lawsuit filed in May 2022 by the attorneys general in Louisiana and Missouri, along with several social media users alleging President Joe Biden and other top administration officials “pressured and colluded” with social media companies to censor and suppress information, including posts that contradicted the official government narrative on COVID-19 origins, vaccines and treatments.

The question before the court is whether to uphold a preliminary injunction — issued on July 4, 2023, by a federal judge and largely upheld on appeal — barring several federal agencies and Biden administration officials from coercing, “significantly encouraging” or taking joint action concerning content moderation by social media companies until the lawsuit is decided.

Commenting on today’s arguments to free speech advocates gathered outside the courthouse today, Mary Holland, president of Children’s Health Defense (CHD), said, “I think that there was agreement that … it is absolutely a violation of the First Amendment for the government to coerce anyone to censor speech.”

Supreme Court by Fine Photographics is licensed under Unsplash unsplash.com

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