The Supreme Court lifted restrictions on the Biden administration’s communications with social media companies



CNN

Supreme Court on Friday lift up One lawsuit aimed at government efforts to combat online misinformation is restrictions on the Biden administration’s communications with social media companies.

The court’s action suspends rulings by a federal trial court and a conservative appeals court that have severely limited the ability of the White House, the surgeon general, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the FBI and a top US cybersecurity agency to communicate with the public. The government considers the media outlets to be misinformed about the Covid-19 related content and elections.

A complete preliminary injunction granted by a federal judge in Louisiana this summer effectively prevented federal agencies and administrative officials from contacting social media companies about removing “content containing protected speech” posted on the sites.

The high court, which agreed to suspend Friday’s rulings, said it would take up the case, though it did not say when it would hear oral arguments in the dispute.

Conservative Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas disagreed with the court’s decision to suspend lower court rulings.

“The upshot is that the Biden administration will continue to do whatever it takes to communicate with social media companies. University of Texas School of Law.

In a five-page rebuttal, conservatives criticized the court’s decision to take up the case at an early stage and called the court’s decision to suspend rulings “deeply troubling.”

“At this point in our nation’s history, I fear that some will see what the Court has done as a green light for the government to use heavy-handed tactics to advance its views on an increasingly dominant media. The dissemination of news,” Alito wrote in the dissent. “It’s very unfortunate.”

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The attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana and several individual plaintiffs filed suit last year, alleging that government efforts to combat online misinformation about Covid-19 and the US election amounted to unconstitutional censorship.

A complete preliminary injunction granted by a federal judge in Louisiana this summer effectively prevented federal agencies and administrative officials from contacting social media companies about removing “content containing protected speech” posted on the sites.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the injunction in September, narrowing its scope to a handful of companies that “may have violated the First Amendment” when they leaned on sites to moderate certain content.

The court said the new ban covers only the White House, the Surgeon General, the CDC and the FBI.

After the Biden administration returned to the Supreme Court, the plaintiffs asked the 5th Circuit to expand the scope of the injunction. In early October, the court partially granted the request, adding the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency as a banned agency.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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