Supreme Court rejects challenge to Biden admin’s censorship collusion with Big Tech – LifeSite

Canadians: Send an urgent message to legislators urging them to stop Trudeau’s ‘Online Harms Act’

WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) –– The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 Wednesday that challengers to the Biden administration’s collaboration with social media companies on censorship decisions lacked standing to sue, dashing hopes of a landmark ruling for free speech online before the presidential election.

Murthy v. Missouri concerned whether the federal government “asking” platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to delete content it finds objectionable constitutes government censorship in violation of the First Amendment. Rather than answer that question, the Court’s majority decision written by Justice Amy Coney Barrett ruled that the plaintiffs – the states of Louisiana and Missouri as well as social media users themselves – lacked standing to bring the case.

“To establish standing, the plaintiffs must demonstrate a substantial risk that, in the near future, they will suffer an injury that is traceable to a government defendant and redressable by the injunction they seek,” Barrett wrote, in an opinion joined by all but three justices. “Because no plaintiff has carried that burden, none has standing to seek a preliminary injunction.”

“[W]ithout proof of an ongoing pressure campaign, it is entirely speculative that the platforms’ future moderation decisions will be attributable, even in part, to the defendants,” she added.

By contrast, “[w]hen the White House pressured Facebook to amend some of the policies related to speech in which [one plaintiff] engaged, those amendments necessarily impacted some of Facebook’s censorship decisions. Nothing more is needed,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in a dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch. “What the Court seems to want are a series of ironclad links — from a particular coercive communication to a particular change in Facebook’s rules or practice and then to a particular adverse action. … No such chain was required.”

Constitutional attorney Ilya Shapiro, who wrote an amicus brief in the case on behalf of the Manhattan Institute, panned the court for taking the “easy way out.”

“Instead of updating the rules on jawboning—government pressure on businesses to do its bidding—for the digital age, a 6-justice majority simply kicked the case on standing grounds,” he wrote. “That’s a disappointing cop-out: the public deserves to know that their elected officials aren’t doing an end-run around the Constitution by having private actors do its bidding. But also note that this 6-3 vote involved three conservatives joining three liberals–so again attacks on the Court as being a bunch of partisan hacks fall flat.”

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, however, attempted to put the outcome in a positive light.

“The record is clear: the deep state pressured and coerced social media companies to take down truthful speech simply because it was conservative. Today’s ruling does not dispute that,” he said in a press release. “My rallying cry to disappointed Americans is this: Missouri is not done. We are going back to the district court to obtain more discovery in order to root out Joe Biden’s vast censorship enterprise once and for all. We will remain vigilant to build the wall of separation between tech and state, but I could not be prouder of what my team and this case has exposed so far. Missouri will continue to lead the way in the fight to defend our most fundamental freedoms.”

For years, conservatives and other dissenters from left-wing orthodoxy have criticized the world’s largest online information and communications platforms, including Google, Facebook, and (until ownership changed hands in late 2022) Twitter, for using their vast influence to slant the news, sources, ideas, and arguments their users see and share through their services. One of their chief rationales for doing so was to prevent “misinformation” from influencing elections, which critics denounce as merely a pretext to sway elections in their favor.

The most dangerous aspect to the issue is the extent to which the government actively encourages private companies to censor disfavored speech, something in which emails, public statements, congressional investigation, leaked documents, and even open admissions have implicated the Biden administration. 

Starting under the Trump administration and continuing into the Biden White House, the U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the U.S. State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) have factored heavily into these activities, working with Stanford University and other entities to establish the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP), through which requests to censor “thousands” of conservative posts could be laundered so as to keep the government’s fingerprints off censorship decisions.

For conservatives, the outcome is the latest example for concern about the current Supreme Court. Six of its nine members were appointed by Republican presidents, yet its decisions continue to be decidedly mixed.

The Court has delivered conservatives major victories on gun rights, environmental regulation, affirmative action, and most significantly abortion with the overturn of Roe v. Wade, but it has also issued dismissive rulings on COVID-19 shot mandates, religious freedom, and LGBT ideology, to the point that Alito has taken the rare step of criticizing Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh for lacking the “fortitude” to resolve such issues.

Canadians: Send an urgent message to legislators urging them to stop Trudeau’s ‘Online Harms Act’

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