Supreme Court rules in favor of government’s ‘Ministry of Truth’ censorship of social media accounts

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On a vote of 6-3, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that the plaintiffs who brought the case didn’t have standing in a lawsuit over the Biden Administration’s efforts to censor Americans’ viewpoints on social media.

The case and the injunction that went with it were thrown out and remanded in Murthy v. Missouri.

The state attorneys general from Missouri and Louisiana had accused the Biden Administration of collusion with Facebook and censorship-via-surrogate in what the Biden lawyers said was simply an effort to combat misinformation. The Biden Administration pressured companies to not allow dissenting opinions about Covid-19, the ridiculousness of government face mask policies, and even the Hunter Biden laptop story.

Alaska’s attorney general had filed an amicus brief supporting the plaintiffs. It said, in part, “The district court and the Fifth Circuit found that federal officials engaged in a years-long campaign to influence the content-moderation decisions of social
media platforms by applying ‘unrelenting pressure’ to those platforms to change content-moderation policies to allow easier suppression of disfavored speech.”

The actual allegation of government censorship may indeed hold water in a court case, but the justices ruled that two states and five social media users do not have the legal standing to sue because they could not show harm. They were simply not the proper litigants.

Doctors who dissented from the government position on Covid were represented by the New Civil Liberties Alliance, which wrote that the high court has “green-lighted the government’s unprecedented censorship regime.”

“Today’s decision Murthy v. Missouri enables the censorship industrial complex and will have grave consequences for Americans’ freedom for years to come. As a practical matter, for the vast majority of plaintiffs, including @AaronKheriatyMD, @DrJBhattacharya, @MartinKulldorff, and @HealthFreedomLA, the Court’s decision effectively erases the First Amendment in the age of technology,” the Alliance wrote.

The decision means that, for now, the government’s requests to tech companies to remove social media posts that the Biden Administration may continue.

“The plaintiffs, without any concrete link between their injuries and the defendants’ conduct, ask us to conduct a review of the years-long communications between dozens of federal officials, across different agencies, with different social-media platforms, about different topics,” Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote in the majority opinion. “This court’s standing doctrine prevents us from ‘exercis[ing such] general legal oversight’ of the other branches of government.”

Barrett wrote, “Neither the individual nor the state plaintiffs have established Article III standing to seek an injunction against any defendant.” Thus, “We therefore reverse the judgment of the Fifth Circuit and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

In addition to doctors, the plaintiffs included a conservative political blog, “The Gateway Pundit,” which reacted to the ruling by stating that the court has ruled “the Biden Administration’s policy of deleting, suppressing, and deplatforming specific people, topics, and ideas is immune from suit, leaving no one able to challenge it in court.”

A Louisiana judge had earlier ruled in favor of The Gateway Pundit and accused federal agencies of taking on the role of “an Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth.’” His decision was upheld in part by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which said the Biden Administration had strong-armed platforms into taking down content. The court issued an injunction that had stopped the government from such communications.

The Supreme Court has now ruled that “the fifth circuit was wrong” in its conclusions. The court found that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that they faced substantial risk of harm from the government.

Conservative Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch dissented with the majority opinion. Alito wrote the dissenting opinion, saying this is “one of the most important free speech cases to reach this court in years,” and that the Biden Administration’s arm-twisting was “blatantly unconstitutional.”

If two states and a handful of doctors don’t have standing, the question remains, who would?

“The Supreme Court is making it procedurally impossible for a citizen or a state to challenge the government’s ability to silence your digital speech. The practical consequence of this decision is to re-open the floodgates of social media censorship and speech suppression,” the conservative publication wrote.

“In sum, the court rules that the two different types of parties, states, and individuals harmed by these government policies, do not have ‘standing’ to sue. This case procedurally related to the request for a preliminary injunction for the government to stop the censorship regime while the case was going on,” The Gateway Pundit wrote.

30 COMMENTS

  1. “…the plaintiffs who brought the case didn’t have standing in a lawsuit…”
    That is not ruling “…in favor of government’s ‘Ministry of Truth’ censorship of social media accounts”
    .
    A plaintiff must demonstrate they were harmed in some way by the Government’s actions in order for the case to proceed. These plaintiffs did not.
    .
    Just because the government pushing media companies to suppress “misinformation” can continue, does not mean the SCOTUS ruled in favor of it. Had the case been presented differently, and actual harm demonstrated, the SCOTUS would likely have found the Biden admin did violate the 1st Amendment. Demonstrate harm, and this administration would get the smack down they so richly deserve.

    • Government working with and coercing companies to shut down websites, twitter accounts, and Facebook pages etc of anyone who disagrees with the government line IS censorship and the states had standing. There was great harm done since we now know that much of that dissent was correct and the government version may have killed millions.

      This ruling used legalese to overwhelm the principle. It is a ruling that had to twist the reasoning into a pretzel to get to the objective.

      • I agree.
        I do not doubt that the States filing the suit, and pretty much everyone else in the country suffered harm. I have no doubt that an administration that wants to control freedom of expression is not doing it for the betterment of the population.
        .
        However, if the plaintiffs cannot demonstrate that this particular collusion directly led to harm, they have no standing. Can they prove they would have done things differently, and ignored the CDC guidance had facebook and twitter allowed these posts? I cannot imagine that argument convincing the SCOTUS.
        .
        And, that is the basis behind this ruling. As much as I wanted a different outcome, the law must be followed. The processes enshrined in our legal system cannot be bypassed, otherwise we are not any better than a 3rd world banana republic.

      • Do you feel the same way when it’s ISIS content that is being requested to be taken down? How absolutist are you?

    • I look forward to the US revoking any commitment to those organizations. Kick the League of Nations out of our country along with their members who reside here.

  2. Seems odd the legal representation of states lack standing to sue on behalf of their people.

    Barrett’s ruling may be technically correct, but it reeks of passing the buck.

  3. Somewhere the far right right has confused the “right of free speech” and with the “say whatever the hell you want facts be damned.” At least 6 of the Supreme Court Justices can understand it.

    • Did you even read the article? Or are you just running on at the mouth because of the headline?
      .
      The SCOTUS decision was not an OK for government ignoring the 1st Amendment. It was saying the plaintiffs did not have standing. At least six of the Supreme Court Justices care enough about due process and equal application of the law to reject a suit where the plaintiff does not have standing.
      .
      But… why let reality get in the way of your hatred of everything conservative.

      • It would appear that you are unfamiliar with the Supreme’s caselaw on standing. A study of the cases would reveal enormous inconsistency in the way this doctrine is interpreted and applied. It can be safely said that standing is routinely used to deflect cases and issues that the Court does not want to decide. Justices Barrett, Kavanaugh and Roberts knew exactly what they were doing.

        • Do not disagree at all. In fact, you make a very valid point.
          However, the States bringing suit did not clearly demonstrate they were harmed. If they could demonstrate they would have used Facebook and Twitter as a source of information for setting COVID policy, they would have a solid case.
          .
          If Anne Zink were to have ignored CDC guidance and policy, and instead used social media as justification for setting COVID policy in AK, we (the State of Alaska) could claim they were harmed by the government collusion with social media. But, I will guess it is policy in most states to use the CDC as their primary source for health guidance.

      • The problem is SCOTUS has ruled repeatedly the government can’t force private companies to censor on its behalf.

        I think this is more a matter of SCOTUS wanting to skirt the issue.

      • Hence the reason so many of the MAGA mouthpieces keep losing civil suits for libel, and then refuse to pay their bills. The truth shall set you free is not a policy that MAGA believes in!

      • There is a few limits to freedom of speech now isn’t there PJ. ??? A person can’t just say anything. Like bomb threats on airlines, threatening a government officials life.

        • Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from the consequences of your speech.
          .
          There is nothing stopping me from yelling “FIRE” in a crowded movie theater, but I cannot use the 1st as a defense against any repercussions. Same with libel/slander, etc…

      • Really? Walk into a police department and threaten them with violence under the guise of free speech.

        Let us know how it turns out for you.

    • The irony is delicious. A progressive troll extolling “free speech” by incorrectly defending a SCOTUS ruling supporting censorship.

  4. There’s another concurrent case Kennedy et al. v. Biden et al., for this same issue. Both cases cited the disclosures of secret communications between social media companies and federal officials revealing threats by President Joe Biden and other top officials against social media companies if they failed to aggressively censor.
    Kennedy v. Biden will continue moving forward as it appears to have standing unlike Murthy v. Missouri.

  5. I fully expected Justice Roberts to stick his knife into the back of the First Amendment on this case and his boy-toy Kavanaugh would do the same. These two lack the ability to see anything of value outside the Washington, DC Beltway. Somehow, Justice Barrett was duped into embracing the statist worldview and is a massive disappointment. Justices understand the actual impact of their decisions. Barrett knows that she is endorsing government-directed censorship.

    In my view government employees attempting to coerce private entities into censoring the free speech of Americans should be subject to criminal prosecution. Justice Alito’s dissent identifies the thuggery of specific individuals. Litigating these cases is essential. Another approach is to initiate shareholder actions against Google and Facebook.

    Finally, a reminder: Kavanaugh and Barrett were appointed by Donald Trump.

  6. “The actual allegation of government censorship may indeed hold water in a court case, but the justices ruled that two states and five social media users do not have the legal standing to sue because they could not show harm. They were simply not the proper litigants.”

    I’m very thankful that we are a nation of laws and that due process is being followed. While it is obvious to most that government censorship and coercing private companies to stiffle free speech is wrong and unconstitutional, if you demand that we further act unconstitutionally then you are as guilty as those who violated the constitution to begin with.

  7. The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. -JFK

  8. Ironic how the partisan, out of control SCOTUS suddenly is the darling of the left for defending government censorship.

    Almost like the outrage is situational.

  9. The Court only ruled on “Standing”. Why is standing always a guessing game in these cases? It seems to me that in its ruling the Court should have then described exactly what parties would have appropriate standing to bring this case. Meanwhile, to oppose this clear abuse of executive power, another plaintiff will have to file and endure another four years of lower court rulings, just to see if their case might have appropriate standing.

  10. If Hunter Biden’s laptop from Hell had not been censored across social media platforms & the Legacy Media by the Biden administration, Sloppy Joe would not be President today and the World would not be on fire. The Supreme Court just gave the Biden administration the green light to engage in election meddling once again!

  11. Republicans yet again attack the justice system because of an unfavorable ruling. When there is an unpopular outcome, republicans look for frayed fanbelts or loose lug nuts; never accepting that their beliefs and policies (if they still have any) caused the crash. Anything but admit their internal division, ludicrousness (Boebert and Gaetz), scorching hypocrisy and dishonestly have exceeded the weight limits on their Hewescraft.

    Republicans prey on stupid people; they are the base. Did you know some convicted fraudster wank promoting gold over currency “opened” for a Trump rally? That should tell you something.

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