A U.S. District Court judge is temporarily blocking the Biden administration from meeting and colluding with big tech companies about social media censorship, saying that these past actions were likely First Amendment violations.
The injunction is in response to recent lawsuits from Louisiana and Missouri attorney generals.
The suits allege that the White House encouraged tech companies to suppress free speech and censor users during the pandemic.
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“The Court has granted our motion to BLOCK top officials in the federal government from violating the First Amendment rights of millions of Americans,” Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey tweeted. “What a way to celebrate Independence Day.”
On Wednesday, US Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL-01) applauded the judge’s decision.
“Under the Trump administration, numerous left-wing federal judges issued nationwide injunctions blocking lawful activities to remove illegal aliens from our country. Unlike those decisions, Judge Doughty’s ruling limits itself to prohibiting the Department of Health and Human Services; the Department of Justice, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency; the Department of Homeland Security; the Department of State; and numerous named bad employees from engaging with Big Tech for the purpose of violating our constitutional rights,” said Gaetz.
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“While I applaud Judge Doughty’s brave stand, the practical effects of his ruling will likely be minimal. But his decision is a shot across the bow of the Biden administration’s censorship industrial complex. Unlike the left-wing decisions that crippled early Trump administration efforts to enforce our nation’s immigration laws, Judge Doughty’s decision is careful to note that the federal government is not blocked from speaking with Big Tech about ongoing criminal or national security matters. The decision is carefully reasoned and fair,” Gaetz continued.
In the absence of an executive branch willing to uphold the Constitution, the task of threading the needle of protecting our nation, enabling adequate law enforcement, and protecting our cherished civil liberties is a job, right now, for Congress. I am proud to serve on our House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, serving alongside Chairman Jim Jordan. I hope that some of the individuals enjoined under the Missouri v. Biden ruling will testify, voluntarily or under subpoena, before our subcommittee soon,” Congressman Gaetz said.
While the judge, Terry A. Doughty, hasn’t made a final ruling, he said the plaintiffs had produced evidence of a “massive effort” from the White House and federal agencies to “suppress speech based on its content.”
Doughty allowed for exceptions to the communication block, including national security threats and criminal activity.
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A White House official said the Department of Justice is reviewing the decision.
“DOJ is reviewing the court’s injunction and will evaluate its options in this case,” the official said. “This administration has promoted responsible actions to protect public health, safety, and security when confronted by challenges like a deadly pandemic and foreign attacks on our elections. Our consistent view remains that social media platforms have a critical responsibility to take account of the effects their platforms are having on the American people, but make independent choices about the information they present.”
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