The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a “Notice of Intervention” in the Trump v. Twitter lawsuit. Trump filed a lawsuit against the social media platform for permanently banning him following the January 6 riot at the US Capitol.
The DOJ’s intervention is in the defense of Section 230, a piece of legislation that protects online platforms from liability from content posted by users. The DOJ wants to point out the constitutionality of the legislation.
We obtained a copy of the intervention for you here.
In this case, the DOJ is getting involved because the case questions the protection afforded to social media companies under Section 230.
“Under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 5.1(c) and 24(a)(1), and in accordance with the authorization of the Acting Solicitor General of the United States, the United States hereby intervenes in this action for the limited purpose of defending the constitutionality of Section 230(c) of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (“CDA”) (Pub. L. No. 104-104, § 509, codified at 47 U.S.C. § 230(c)),” the notice states.
Although the DOJ insists it is only getting involved for “the limited purpose of defending the constitutionality of Section 230,” by doing so, it is indirectly defending Twitter.
The notice adds: “The United States is entitled to intervene in this action under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and by statute. Rule 5.1(c) permits the Attorney General to intervene in an action where, as here, the constitutionality of a federal statute is challenged. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 5.1(c). Rule 24 further permits a non-party to intervene when the non-party ‘is given an unconditional right to intervene by a federal statute.’ Fed. R. Civ. P. 24(a)(1).
“The United States has an unconditional statutory right to intervene ‘[i]n any action…wherein the constitutionality of any Act of Congress affecting the public interest is drawn in question[.]’ 28 U.S.C. § 2403(a). In such an action, ‘the court…shall permit the United States to intervene…for argument on the question of constitutionality.’ Id. Here, Plaintiffs have ‘drawn in question’ the constitutionality of 47 U.S.C. § 230(c), and the United States has an unconditional right to intervene to defend the statute.”
The DOJ requested the court to “set the deadline for the United States to submit its memorandum in defense of 47 U.S.C. § 230(c) as December 9, 2021.”