Supreme Court pauses ruling that restricts Biden admin's contact with social media companies

 September 16, 2023

The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court just placed a temporary pause on the recent court ruling that placed restrictions on the Biden administration's contact with social media companies. 

NBC News reports that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito issued the temporary stay on Thursday.

Alito did so within hours of the Biden administration's request.

The stay will remain in effect until Sept. 22.


About a week ago, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans placed temporary restrictions on the Biden administration's contact with social media companies. What the appellate court actually did was uphold a lower court ruling, which had put the restrictions in place. But, the appellate court narrowed the restrictions.

NBC reports:

Late last week, the New Orleans-based appeals court narrowed most of that injunction but ordered the White House, the FBI, and top health officials not to "coerce or significantly encourage" social media companies to remove content the Biden administration considers to be misinformation.

This case stems from a lawsuit that was brought against the Biden administration by the states of Missouri and Louisiana as well as by a conservative website owner and four individuals.

The lawsuit accuses Biden administration officials of pressuring social media companies into censoring posts that challenged the official position taken by the administration on a number of hot-button issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

The appellate court found that the Biden administration pressured Big Tech platforms using "intimidating messages and threats of adverse consequences." The judges also found that the Biden administration "significantly encouraged the platforms’ decisions by commandeering their decision-making processes, both in violation of the First Amendment."

The latest

The Biden administration was given 10 days to appeal this ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. And, this is what the administration has done.

The Biden administration, on Friday, asked the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court to place a temporary stay on the appellate court's ruling.

The justices did not grant that request. Instead, what Alito did was temporarily remove the restrictions while he and his fellow justices decide whether or not to grant the Biden administration's request.

NBC News reports, "Alito's order, which does not mean the court will necessarily grant Prelogar's request once it is considered in more detail, said the states should respond by Wednesday."

So, next up will be Missouri and Louisiana's response to the Biden administration Supreme Court filing. It is expected by the end of the week.

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