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Second Circuit Set To Hear Oral Arguments in Rumble’s Free Speech Case Against New York’s Online Censorship Law

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The upcoming hearing on February 16 before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit represents a pivotal moment in the fight for free speech online.

This court session will address the significant concerns raised by Eugene Volokh, a renowned First Amendment professor and legal blogger, alongside social media platforms Rumble and Locals.

These parties have joined forces with the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), a leading national group advocating for free speech, to challenge a contentious New York law.

This law, enacted in December 2022, has been a point of contention for its mandate requiring websites to actively engage with speech considered “humiliating” or “vilifying” toward any group based on race, color, religion, or other protected characteristics.

The lawsuit, initiated by Volokh, Rumble, and Locals, argues that this requirement infringes on constitutional rights.

A federal judge previously sided with this viewpoint, deeming the law likely unconstitutional. Following this, FIRE secured an injunction against the law’s enforcement, prompting New York to appeal.

Eugene Volokh confidently anticipates the Second Circuit’s agreement with the District Court’s decision, highlighting the absence of a ‘hate speech’ exception within the First Amendment. “The District Court correctly held that the New York law unconstitutionally targeted certain viewpoints, since there’s no ‘hate speech’ exception to the First Amendment,” Volokh stated.

Rumble’s Chairman and CEO, Chris Pavlovski, expressed a strong stance against the law, emphasizing Rumble’s dedication to safeguarding free speech.

Pavlovski remarked, “New York’s law commands social media platforms to crack down on a variety of forms of protected speech, and fighting to defend that speech is the very reason Rumble exists. We cannot let activist governments continue to chip away at the freedom of expression, which is one of the most basic of all human rights. We are grateful to our partners in this fight, Locals, Eugene Volokh, and FIRE, for helping to carry the torch of freedom with us.”

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