Dems Score Dictator Power Over Internet Discussions

In a disagreement with Republican-controlled states on the extent to which the federal government can combat divisive social media claims about everything from the Wuhan virus to election integrity, the US Supreme Court sided with the Biden administration on June 26, 2024.
 

The Supreme Court, by a vote of 6-3, reversed decisions from lower courts that supported the claims of parties from Louisiana, Missouri, and other states that the federal government had used social media platforms to suppress conservative viewpoints unlawfully.

In the court’s majority ruling, Justice Amy Coney Barrett concluded that the states and other parties lacked standing, or the legal authority, to bring a lawsuit. Neal Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito, the three justices, all expressed disagreement.

The states argued that individuals who exerted “unrelenting pressure” to force modifications to online information on social media platforms included the surgeon general, the FBI, the White House communications staff, and the US cybersecurity agency.

During the March arguments, the judges seemed to be generally unconvinced by those claims, and a few expressed concern that a finding in favor of the states may affect routine interactions between government officials and the platforms.

The Biden administration brought attention to these worries when it raised concerns about electoral integrity, national security, and public health, as well as how the government would no longer be able to speak with social media firms about remarks that were purportedly antisemitic and anti-Muslim.

Liz Murrill, the attorney general of Louisiana, called the choice “unfortunate and unsatisfactory.” In a statement, Liz Murrill asserted that the majority of the court allows the federal government to coerce tech platforms into censoring and suppressing speech that the First Amendment unquestionably protects. This is the worst government coercive plot in history, waved off by the majority.

In the majority judgment, Justice Barrett stated, “We begin — and end — with standing.” At this time, neither the state plaintiffs nor the individual plaintiffs have proven they have the right to seek an injunction against any defendant. As a result, we lack the authority to address the dispute’s merits.

Alito said in a dissenting opinion that the states had shown they had enough evidence to bring a lawsuit. High-ranking government officials relentlessly pressed Facebook to stifle free expression in the United States for months. For the benefit of the dissenting judges, he said, “I respectfully dissent because the court unjustifiably refuses to address this substantial threat to the First Amendment.”

Social media is the private arm of the managerial state. The state will “privatize” this despotism for corporate actors when it is unable to stifle free expression. To guarantee the proper placement of the public and private sectors, significant right-wing action will be necessary. Strong action is required to protect freedom and order.

Author: Scott Dowdy

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