Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit over social media censorship

 June 27, 2024

In a case that was widely expected to have major First Amendment implications, the attorneys general of Missouri and other red states sued the Biden administration over its efforts to restrain speech on social media.

However, the Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit this week on the grounds that its plaintiffs lacked standing. 

"Neither the individual nor the state plaintiffs have established standing"

Breitbart noted that the majority opinion was authored by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts as well as Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Barrett recalled how "[d]uring the 2020 election season and the COVID–19 pandemic, social-media platforms frequently removed, demoted, or fact checked posts containing allegedly false or misleading information."

"At the same time, federal officials, concerned about the spread of 'misinformation' on social media, communicated extensively with the platforms about their content-moderation efforts," she continued.

Barrett went on to declare, "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."

Alito: "Government officials may not coerce private entities to suppress speech"

As Breitbart pointed out, those words were met with a "blistering dissent" from Justice Samuel Alito along with Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch.

"Of course, purely private entities like newspapers are not subject to the First Amendment, and as a result, they may publish or decline to publish whatever they wish," Alito wrote.

"But government officials may not coerce private entities to suppress speech, and that is what happened in this case," the Republican appointee stressed.

"The Court, however, shirks that duty and thus permits the successful campaign of coercion in this case to stand as an attractive model for future officials who want to control what the people say, hear, and think," Alito complained.

Law professor calls outcome "very frustrating"

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley also voiced criticism of how America's highest judicial body had performed.

"It's very frustrating for the free speech community, because standing is often used to block meritorious claims," Turley told Fox News hosts Dana Perino and Aishah Hasnie.

"I wrote about this issue, this case, in my recent book, because you have one of the largest censorship systems in our history, if not the largest," Turley argued.

"It's been called Orwellian by lower court judges and what the court is saying is that we won’t hear you on this issue because you are not the right litigants," the law professor went on to state.

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