(RightWing.org) – In 2021, amid growing worries that social media platforms were shutting down conservative voices, Florida and Texas passed anti-censorship laws designed to protect Americans’ First Amendment rights. Now the Biden administration has asked the Supreme Court to review those laws. The White House claims it wants to protect freedom of speech — but is its real goal to let liberal tech companies silence the Democrats’ political opponents?
States Ban Censorship — But White House Doesn’t Approve
Until Elon Musk bought Twitter last year and immediately dismantled the site’s notoriously left-wing moderation system, social media was a liberal stronghold where Conservatives felt strictly controlled and limited in what they could say. During the 2020 presidential election there were many complaints that social media companies were suppressing conservative issues, like the discovery of Hunter Biden’s laptop, and promoting liberal ones. In response to that, and Twitter’s January 2021 de-platforming of former president Donald Trump, some states decided to act.
In Florida it’s now illegal for social media sites to de-platform candidates for public office; any that defy the law are liable for fines of up to $250,000 per day. Meanwhile, in Texas, platforms with more than 50 million users in the US aren’t allowed to censor political viewpoints. Both laws have already faced legal challenges; one federal appeals court ruled that the Texas law is legal, while another issued an injunction blocking Florida’s version. Now the Biden administration, which opposed both laws from the beginning, is elbowing its way in.
Biden Calls for Review
On August 14, Elizabeth B Prelogar, Biden’s solicitor general, wrote to the US Supreme Court arguing that because two circuit courts have reached conflicting rulings on social media anti-censorship laws, a SCOTUS review is needed. Prelogar claims that preventing tech companies from censoring political opinions they dislike is a violation of their rights, essentially arguing that censorship is protected by the First Amendment.
The administration is taking a risk in pushing this case to the Supreme Court. If it agrees to hear the case, its decision will set the direction for social media companies for years to come. If it upholds the Texas and Florida laws, the ability of the tech industry to shut down Conservatives on the internet will be seriously restricted. With a 6-3 conservative majority on the court, Biden will be hoping the right-leaning justices favor the rights of business owners to control what’s said on their platforms over the right of Conservatives to be heard. It’s a big gamble.
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