Breaking: Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Biden Administration in Landmark Social-Media Censorship Case

The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in favor of the Biden administration in a landmark case dealing with government involvement in social-media censorship, finding that the plaintiffs lacked the standing to sue.

Justice Barrett wrote the majority opinion asserting that two states and five social-media users do not have standing to contest the level of coordination between government agencies, nonprofits, and tech platforms in restricting content on social media.

“We begin—and end—with standing. At this stage, neither the individual nor the state plaintiffs have established standing to seek an injunction against any defendant. We therefore lack jurisdiction to reach the merits of the dispute,” the majority opinion reads.

The landmark Murthy v. Missouri content-moderation case came about from a lawsuit by Missouri and Louisiana against the Biden administration over federal agencies working with social-media platforms and third-party nonprofits to censor conservatives online.

Last July, a district court ruled that federal agencies could not communicate with social-media companies or nonprofits with the purpose of coercing them into restricting speech. The Fifth Circuit partially upheld the injunction last fall and found multiple federal agencies violated the First Amendment.

“This evidence indicates that the platforms had independent incentives to moderate content and often exercised their own judgment. To be sure, the record reflects that the Government defendants played a role in at least some of the platforms' moderation choices. But the Fifth Circuit, by attributing every platform decision at least in part to the defendants, glossed over complexities in the evidence,” Barrett said of the Fifth Circuit’s ruling.

Documents obtained during the litigation appeared to show White House officials and employees at multiple federal agencies pressuring Twitter and Facebook into limiting the distribution of conservative viewpoints and right-wing commentators.

Those documents resembled the “Twitter Files,” a series of internal documents released by a group of independent journalists following billionaire Elon Musk’s purchase of the platform. Upon purchasing Twitter, Musk fired the platform’s top executives and removed speech limitations that had long been the subject of conservative speculation.

Online censorship became an important issue for conservatives following Twitter and Facebook’s decision to censor the New York Post’s reporting on contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Twitter’s internal deliberations on whether the Post violated its hacked materials policy were a cornerstone of the “Twitter Files” revelations.

In Hunter Biden’s criminal trial, FBI special agent Erica Jensen, a 20-year veteran of the bureau, gave detailed testimony for the prosecution on exactly federal investigators verified the laptop. Federal agents cross-referenced the laptop’s serial number with Biden’s iCloud backups to verify its data, and an FBI technician extracted data from the computer once it was verified.

House Republicans have made the coordination between social-media platforms, “misinformation” non-profits, and government agencies a hallmark of investigative efforts this congress. The House Judiciary Committee and its Weaponization Subcommittee have released multiple reports on the efforts by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), FBI, and other government agencies to work with nonprofits to pressure tech companies into curtailing certain forms of speech. The reports are based on internal documents obtained primarily through subpoenas.

The Stanford Internet Observatory, one of the nonprofits frequently cited in the congressional reports, is shutting down because of the legal fees attached to investigations and lawsuits.

Two years ago, the DHS briefly formed a “disinformation-governance board” to streamline its process of monitoring supposed “disinformation” online. The panel was quickly shuttered after executive director Nina Jankowicz’s history of partisan and false claims drew a significant amount of scrutiny from conservatives.

Government officials working with social-media platforms to restrict certain forms of speech has the potential to influence the 2024 presidential election and shift public opinion on hot-button issues.

Left-wing organizations have expressed concerns over the lack of perceived “disinformation” monitoring and the potential for false claims to spread about the 2024 presidential election outcome like they did following the 2020 contest.

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Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Biden Administration in Landmark Social-Media Censorship Case

The Court ruled that states lack the standing to sue the Biden administration for coercing social-media companies ... READ MORE

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