A federal judge denied the Biden administration’s attempt to pause an injunction that bars federal officials from communicating with social media companies for the purposes of censoring protected speech on Monday.
The Biden administration appealed Western District of Louisiana Judge Terry A. Doughty’s July 4 injunction on Wednesday, also requesting an emergency order to pause the injunction while the appeal is pending on Thursday night. Doughty denied the administration’s emergency order Monday, finding that plaintiffs would likely succeed in proving the government colluded with social media companies “to engage in viewpoint-based suppression of protected free speech.”
“Although this Preliminary Injunction involves numerous agencies, it is not as broad as it appears,” Doughty wrote. “It only prohibits something the Defendants have no legal right to do—contacting social media companies for the purpose of urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner, the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech posted on social-media platforms. It also contains numerous exceptions.”
Psaki was trying to pressure big tech into COVID censorship https://t.co/0j77YL0h11
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Doughty highlighted multiple examples of alleged censorship, such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials providing examples of misinformation topics to Facebook, the FBI’s refusal to tell Facebook whether the Hunter Biden laptop story was Russian disinformation and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) holding recurring meetings with social media platforms on “misinformation, disinformation, and/or censorship of protected free speech on social media.”
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey and Louisiana Attorney General Jeffrey Landry opposed the Biden administration’s attempt to stop the injunction in a court filing Sunday, writing the administration was essentially asking to “continue violating the First Amendment.”
“In essence, Defendants argue that the injunction should be stayed because it might interfere with the Government’s ability to continue working with social-media companies to censor Americans’ core political speech on the basis of viewpoint,” they wrote in the court filing. “In other words, the Government seeks a stay of the injunction so that it can continue violating the First Amendment.”
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