What’s At Stake If SCOTUS Takes Online Censorship Case

The U.S. government’s unprecedented crusade against “misinformation” and “disinformation” could be in jeopardy.

Written by Hudson Crozier

What happened: At the request of President Joe Biden’s Justice Department, the Supreme Court paused an appeals court ruling that barred some in the government from compelling social media companies to censor speech. The appeals court had sided with Republican attorneys general and other plaintiffs last week, ruling that the government likely violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: While this means state-sanctioned censorship is allowed to continue for now, it also means the Supreme Court may agree to hear the case. A ruling at the federal level would set an important precedent for free speech: The federal government’s engagement in online censorship would either be put to an end or normalized.

What’s at stake: The plaintiffs allege that federal agencies worked to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story and opinions on COVID-19, vaccine mandates, and other controversial issues, potentially influencing elections by controlling public discourse.

What are they thinking? Some don’t think the Biden administration is making a smart move by taking the case to the right-leaning Supreme Court, which has frequently ruled in favor of free expression. The government argues that telling tech companies what to censor is just part of the free speech rights of federal employees.

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