The Biden administration's alleged attempt to suppress free speech by coordinating with social-media platforms has been halted by a Louisiana federal court in a case termed as "the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history." Judge Terry Doughty issued a temporary injunction, stating that several federal agencies and individuals within the executive branch were forbidden from pressuring social-media companies to suppress or delete protected free speech.
This monumental ruling stands as a testament to the enduring power of the First Amendment in the United States, reinforcing citizens' right to express their thoughts and opinions freely without fear of government censorship.
Fox News reports on this recent court decision and the potential implications it may have on our digital rights in an age of advancing technology and shifting political landscapes.
In a comprehensive move to protect First Amendment rights, Judge Doughty's injunction prohibits a wide range of government agencies, including the FBI, the Justice Department, and the Department of Homeland Security.
The ruling even extends to certain individuals in the executive branch such as White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. All these parties are forbidden from urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of protected free speech on social-media platforms.
The injunction also extends to external organizations such as the Stanford Internet Observatory, prohibiting them from inducing social media companies to suppress protected free speech. The government is even barred from notifying social media companies to "Be on The Lookout (‘BOLO’)" for posts containing protected free speech.
A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has placed a temporary stay on Judge Doughty's injunction. The case is set for an expedited appeal before the 5th Circuit.
This development showcases the intricate balance of power between various branches of the government and the continual negotiation between citizens' rights and government authority.
Missouri, Louisiana, and five individual plaintiffs, including Jim Hoft of The Gateway Pundit and two infectious disease epidemiologists, initiated this case. They argued that the Biden administration's alleged collusion with social-media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook was a bid to suppress dissenting voices and control narratives on a wide range of topics.
The court's ruling highlights the importance of preserving First Amendment rights to free speech and freedom of expression. In an era of rapidly advancing technology, it's easier than ever for the government to suppress speech it disagrees with on numerous issues. The government attempted to label these disagreements as "misinformation," a tactic reminiscent of practices used by oppressive regimes like the Chinese Communist government.
Judge Doughty’s 155-page opinion delves into the extensive meetings, emails, and other communications that occurred between government officials and social-media executives.
There is substantial evidence that government officials were pressuring social media platforms to censor and close accounts. Facebook, for instance, was found to be submitting reports to government officials detailing their censorship activities.
The judge also commented on the FBI's claim that its concern was solely about "disinformation" propagated by foreign countries. The evidence presented in the case contradicts this claim, revealing that the FBI did not distinguish between American and foreign reports of election disinformation.
The judge concluded that the government was engaged in viewpoint discrimination, an outright violation of the First Amendment.
In a striking note, Doughty mentioned, "virtually all of the free speech suppressed was ‘conservative’ free speech." He argued that through their actions, social-media platforms essentially became agents of the government, helping it to exercise coercive power and suppress millions of free speech postings by American citizens.
The Biden administration has since appealed this decision, a move that should concern the American public. The injunction only applies to First Amendment-protected speech and specifically carves out exceptions for other types of communication between the government and social-media platforms.
The administration argues that this injunction should be overturned so it can "promote responsible actions to protect public health, safety, and security." In other words, it wants to continue censoring public postings and opinions of American citizens.
The court's decision serves as a poignant reminder of the federal government's past abuses of free speech. The FBI, in particular, has a notorious history of targeting civil rights leaders, such as Martin Luther King Jr., with nefarious campaigns including illegal wiretaps and informants.
The courts should maintain this injunction, considering the administration's decision to defend unconstitutional actions reminiscent of an Orwellian dystopia to censor lawful speech. The administration claims to act in the name of "public health, safety, and security," but their determination of what constitutes "truth" is a path to tyranny.
In conclusion, the key takeaways from this landmark case are:
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