Alito speaks out against Supreme Court's social media censorship ruling

 October 24, 2023

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is speaking out after a ruling that allows the Biden administration to censor conservative content on social media.

Alito spoke on the issue Monday, referring to the decision as "highly disturbing."

The dissent

“This case concerns what two lower courts found to be a coordinated campaign by high-level federal officials to suppress the expression of disfavored views on important public issues,” Alito wrote in a dissent from the court’s ruling.

He noted the problem of the government “either coercing social media companies to engage in such censorship or actively controlling those companies’ decisions about the content posted on their platforms.”

The plaintiffs respond

"The New Civil Liberties Alliance, the firm representing the plaintiffs, released statements expressing disappointment at the Court’s decision to stay the injunction but expressed confidence that their case will ultimately prevail," Newsbusters reported.

“We are disappointed Americans’ First Amendment rights will be vulnerable to government infringement until this case is decided,” said John Vecchione, Senior Litigation Counsel at NCLA. “But we are confident this Court, as strong as it is on First Amendment issues, will rule against the government and uphold our clients’ rights and liberties.”

The history

"The Republican attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana and a group of social media users sued federal officials, accusing them of unlawfully helping suppress conservative-leaning speech on major social medial platforms, such as Meta's Facebook, Alphabet's YouTube and X, formerly called Twitter," Reuters reported.

"Lower courts found that administration officials likely coerced the companies into censoring certain posts, in violation of the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment free speech protections," it continued.

In addition to Alito, Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch also dissented in the 6-3 ruling.

The case stands as one of several legal battles over online censorship that has become a major issue related to free speech in the U.S.

Alito is right that the ruling is disturbing in its direction away from free speech, allowing the government to offer more limitations on what can be said online.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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