Supreme Court temporarily halts order banning the White House from contacting social media companies

September 15, 2023

The Biden administration won a small legal victory this week when the Supreme Court paused a lower court decision barring it from contacting social media companies. 

The ruling represents the latest development in Missouri v. Bidena case challenging the federal government's ability to control online content.

Appeals court partially upheld wide-ranging injunction

According to Breitbart, judges on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals moved last week to partially uphold a preliminary injunction issued in July by federal Judge Terry Doughty.

That order forbids multiple federal agencies from contacting social media platforms "for the purpose of urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing" censorship.

The Fifth Circuit Court concurred that the FBI, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), White House press secretary, and other administration figures should be restricted in their dealings with social media outlets.

They are banned from taking "actions, formal or informal, directly or indirectly, to coerce or significantly encourage social-media companies to remove, delete, suppress, or reduce, including through altering their algorithms, posted social-media content containing protected free speech."

Disappointment among White House critics

"That includes, but is not limited to, compelling the platforms to act, such as by intimating that some form of punishment will follow a failure to comply with any request, or supervising, directing, or otherwise meaningfully controlling the social-media companies’ decision-making processes," the court went on to add.

Yet Breitbart noted that some agencies named in Doughty's original injunction were removed, including the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)

The CISA's website explains that it "provides regional cyber and physical services to support security and resilience across the United States."

That exception was met with criticism from Mike Benz, a former State Department official who currently heads the Foundation for Freedom Online.

Supreme Court pauses order while arguments are considered

Uncover DC editor-in-chief Tracy Beanz spoke up as well, slamming the exception granted to the CISA as being a "disappointment."

However, Forbes reported on Friday that the Supreme Court has temporarily blocked all of Terry Doughty's injunction until September 22.

That pause is intended to give the nation's highest judicial body time to consider a request from the Biden administration to have it overturned entirely.

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