Alaska Federalist Society speaker series: Social media bias, discrimination, and Supreme Court

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Judd Stone

In 2021, Florida and Texas enacted laws to reduce discrimination against viewpoints on social media platforms. The Texas law was upheld in the Fifth Circuit, whereas the Florida law, sponsored by Gov. Ron DeSantis, was struck down in the Eleventh Circuit. 

The Florida law punishing Facebook and Twitter-type social media sites for throttling conservative speech was an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment, the Eleventh Circuit Court ruled.

“Put simply, with minor exceptions, the government can’t tell a private person or entity what to say or how to say it,” said Circuit Judge Kevin Newsom, writing the opinion on the Florida case. “We hold that it is substantially likely that social media companies — even the biggest ones — are private actors whose rights the First Amendment protects.” Newsom is a Trump appointee.

The U.S Supreme Court has agreed to review both the Florida and Texas cases. At issue is whether the First Amendment prohibits the States from restricting social media firms from engaging in editorial choices about whether, and how, to publish, and disseminate speech.

The Alaska Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society will host former Texas Solicitor General Judd Stone in discussing the two cases. Stone, who has argued eight cases in front of the US Supreme Court, successfully defended the Texas law (HB20) before the Fifth Circuit and has briefed the US Supreme Court. 

Stone will share his analysis about issues arising from social media content moderation and how the Supreme Court might decide the cases.

Before joining the Texas Solicitor General’s Office in 2020, Stone was Chief Counsel for Sen. Ted Cruz, and previously practiced at Morgan, Lewis, and Bockius in their Supreme Court and Appellate Practice Group in Washington. D.C., and at Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick. He also served as an Olin-Searle-Smith fellow at Harvard Law School.

Stone began his legal career as a law clerk to conservative Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court, to then-Chief Judge Edith Jones on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

He also clerked for Justice Daniel Winfree at the Alaska Supreme Court. Stone received his law degree from Northwestern University and his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas, Dallas. He is the founder of Stone, Hilton PLLC.

Thursday’s luncheon meeting begins at noon at the Petroleum Club of Anchorage, 3301 C. Street, Anchorage, AK 99503. Members pay $10, and nonmembers pay $20, which includes lunch. Register at this link.

2 COMMENTS

  1. The Social Media companies that circumvent Section 230 by limiting the Free Speech of Internet Users should have this restriction removed. If they continue to stifle conservatives free speech while enabling the left’s free speech than all conservatives should drop all advertising and use of these services and make them suffer the financial consequences. I for one would rather not use them if they continue to circumvent my rights and limit my speech and not do so across the board. These companies should be open to lawsuits and offered no protection against these. Make them hurt finically.

  2. This sounds like a great event that folks can learn much from. I hope everyone spreads the word so more can be informed about the future of social media and its censorship.

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