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Democrat State Attorneys General File Brief In Support of Biden Censorship Power

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In a move that underscores the unceasing tension between free speech and the control of information online, 20 Democratic state attorneys general have made appeals through federal court to restore their power in urging social media entities to censor user content.

Headlined by New York Attorney General Letitia James, the collective is adamant that federal court decisions are hindering their capability to prevent the circulation of misleading information.

July 4 saw US District Judge Terry Doughty issue a directive that greatly restrains government officials’ influence over social media moderation, after there was enough evidence already presented to show possible First Amendment violations.

Stemming from a lawsuit filed in May 2022 by Republican attorneys in Louisiana and Missouri, the verdict argued that both the presiding Biden administration had unjustly pressured social media platforms into suppressing posts perceived as potential triggers for vaccine hesitancy during the COVID-19 crisis or destabilizers for electoral processes.

This pursuit for moderation by government officials, the suit asserted, unjustly infringed upon the First Amendment right to free speech. In particular, these assertions were aimed at tech conglomerates like Meta’s Facebook and Google’s YouTube, accused of commencing the limitation of information dissemination allegedly deemed misleading circa 2019.

Currently held in suspension due to an appeal by the Biden administration, the order, should it be reactivated by the 5th Circuit, will prevent government departments, including the likes of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, from communication with social media companies for the removal or suppression of content considered as protected free speech under the First Amendment.

The Democratic attorneys general, incensed by the ruling, claimed it is “erroneous.” They stressed that the court’s intentions to safeguard First Amendment rights have resulted in the limitation of public discourse on pivotal issues. Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey voiced in Monday’s statement that the protection of the First Amendment should not be divisive but focal to both parties, expressing his concern over this partisan divide.

We obtained a copy of the Amicus Brief for you here.

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