The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against the Biden administration’s efforts to coerce or “significantly encourage” social media companies to censor content, asserting that such actions violated the First Amendment. This decision partially upholds a previous ruling in Missouri vs. Biden, which prohibited the FBI, the Centers for Disease Control, the White House, and the Surgeon General from pressuring social media platforms to remove or restrict content that did not align with the administration’s views.
The court’s ruling specifically cited actions taken by various officials, including White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. The ruling explicitly stated, “Defendants, and their employees and agents, shall take no 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.”
In one of the most significant 1st Amendment victories in years, a 5th Circuit panel (only one of whom is a Trump appointee) rules that the Biden WH, the FBI, CDC, and Surgeon General violated Americans’ core free speech rights by coercing Big Tech to censor on their command. pic.twitter.com/8BrHZ8fHpH
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) September 9, 2023
The decision also clarified that this prohibition extends to any form of compelling the platforms to act under the threat of punishment, as well as supervising, directing, or controlling the decision-making processes of social media companies.
Recent revelations have shed light on the Biden administration’s attempts to shape the online narrative, as documents released by Congress indicated that a White House official sought to promote established media outlets while stifling the reach of platforms like The Daily Wire, all in line with the administration’s COVID vaccine agenda.
It is important to note that while the appeals court ruling is significant, it did not fully mirror the initial decision by U.S. Judge Terry A. Doughty, as injunctions against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Census Bureau, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency were not upheld.
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey expressed his satisfaction with the outcome, stating, “The First Amendment remains intact,” and referring to the ruling as another step in establishing a separation between technology companies and government influence.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry echoed these sentiments, emphasizing that the ruling marked a “major win against censorship, totalitarianism, and Biden.”
This legal battle emerged when several states, including Louisiana and Missouri, initiated a lawsuit against the Biden administration, asserting that the administration’s actions constituted “the most egregious violations of the First Amendment in the history of the United States of America.”
Bombshell Ruling: 5th Circuit Court finds the Biden White House, FBI and CDC violated the First Amendment Rights of Millions of Americans by bullying Tech Companies into censoring Free Speech during the Pandemic. pic.twitter.com/O5KBdPJjpW
— Teagan1776🇺🇸 (@Teagan1776) September 9, 2023