SCOTUS Will Hear Missouri's Social Media Censorship Case Against Biden

P. Gardner Goldsmith | October 23, 2023
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The Supreme Court of the United States on Friday agreed to take up the case known as “Missouri v. Biden,” and known among many free speech advocates as a battle against immoral, unconstitutional federal pressure to make social media platforms censor facts and opinions that federal politicians and bureaucrats do not like.

And in opening the door to hear this important case, the majority of SCOTUS Justices also lifted a lower court injunction blocking many, but not all, Biden blowhards from pressuring those social media platforms, allowing all the feds to again push sites like Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter/X to shadow-ban us, remove our valid posts, and restrict our reach until the very day that the final SCOTUS ruling in the case is delivered.

 

Much like a confused gender-bender who wants “plural pronouns,” this “case” actually is two cases, and in its/their convoluted-but-comprehensible history, the last major development saw Fifth Federal Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Terry Doughty combine both the “Missouri v. Biden” suit (which includes Attorneys General from Missouri and Louisiana) and a suit from plaintiff Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., whose non-profit Children’s Health Defense (CHD) also claimed tortious interference by the Biden Administration.

Both groups brought their suits in response to then-White House press secretary Jen Psaki revealing in July 2021 that the White House was “flagging” for removal from social media what she alleged was misinformation, mainly about government-imposed so-called “pandemic” lockdowns and government-funded, government-approved, government indemnified COVID-19 mRNA "vaccines."

The Missouri and Louisiana AGs are joined by three private doctors: Jay Battacharya, Martin Kuldorff, Aaron Kheriaty, and by activist Jill Hines, all of whom are signers of the logical, proven correct “Great Barrington Declaration” that advocated against unconstitutional “lockdowns” and in favor of the “most at-risk” voluntarily staying home, while young, strong Americans continued to conduct their public lives, building natural immunity through natural infection and immune response. And, as the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) notes, the plaintiffs argue:

“Social media platforms, acting at the federal government’s behest, repeatedly censored NCLA’s clients for articulating views on those platforms in opposition to government-approved views on Covid-19 issues. This insidious censorship was the direct result of the federal government’s campaign to silence those who voice perspectives that deviate from those of the Biden Administration.”

Now, the SCOTUS will take up the case. But it is worthwhile to explore what means the feds could use to intimidate social media into conforming.

In some cases, it’s easy to assume that some of the figures pulling the plug on the plaintiffs (and, possibly, many of us, as well) had little problem doing so, because, ideologically, they agreed with the power-wielding politically-minded muzzle – they believe in central control and increasing government hegemony over our lives.

But in other cases, where, possibly, the social media staff did not want to conform, the feds could threaten them with the forbidding cudgel of what is known as “Section 230” of the 1996 Communications Decency Act.

That section allows the feds and their unconstitutional Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to grant social media and internet providers immunity from slander and defamation suits should a user post something potentially defamatory/slanderous and be cited by a person claiming to be a victim. Section 230 also claims that the feds have the wondrous power to give social media and internet service providers immunity from state action should states discover criminally prohibited content like child pornography on their “platforms.”

The key, here, is that Section 230 reserves to the feds the ability to yank those protections if the FCC or members of Congress determine that the media platform or internet service provider did not “curate” the content “in good faith.”

Related: FBI Scandals Mount: Conducted Warrantless Searches on More Than a Quarter-Million U.S. Citizens in 12-Month Period | MRCTV

That latter being an obviously ambiguous term left up to the politicians and FCC bureaucrats to “interpret” and “define.”

Thus, as the NCLA argues:

“Government officials’ public threats to punish social media companies that did not do their bidding demonstrate this linkage, as do emails from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to social media companies.”

Given the “backdoor access” at Facebook that allowed the feds to do what Psaki noted, and the literal payoffs called “reimbursements” by the feds to Twitter after Twitter reportedly did federal bidding, cutting back posts, cutting back the spread of posts, and given the revelation that the US government fed money to recipients such as NewsGuard to actually hamper MRCTV’s reach, it is fairly easy to reach an “outside-the-court” conclusion that is quite damning of the feds.

But of major note as we await the oral arguments and the lengthy process of SCOTUS “decision-making,” is the obnoxious way the SCOTUS majority has ALLOWED the Biden Admin to actually resume its unwarranted and unethical pressuring to silence our freedom of speech.

As attorney Eugene Volokh notes for Reason, in voting to “allow” the Bidens to resume their intimidation campaign, there was a profound split among the Justices, seeing Justice Alito, Justice Thomas, and Justice Gorsuch dissent from the majority, and seeing Justice Alito write, in part:

“This case concerns what two lower courts found to be a ‘coordinated campaign’ by high-level federal officials to suppress the expression of disfavored views on important public issues. To prevent the continuation of this campaign, these officials were enjoined from either ‘coerc[ing]’ social media companies to engage in such censorship or ‘active[ly] control[ling]’ those companies' decisions about the content posted on their platforms. Today, however, a majority of the Court, without undertaking a full review of the record and without any explanation, suspends the effect of that injunction until the Court completes its review of this case, an event that may not occur until late in the spring of next year. Government censorship of private speech is antithetical to our democratic form of government, and therefore today's decision is highly disturbing.”

Of course, Jen Psaki likely doesn’t have to worry about Bidenista censorship, now that she works under the completely unbiased, high-journalism-standards banner of CNN, but the rest of us?

We might want to be vigilant – as always.

By the way, the majority that ruled it’s okay for the feds to engage in this censorship pressure until the SCOTUS hears the full case and rules? They offered zero wording about why they are allowing this to go on, except a claim that the federal government has to be able to get out it's message on issues.

Stifling us has nothing to do with the feds getting out their message. They don't need to silence us in order to spread their politically preferred messages. What they seem to want to do is silence us because they don't want to engage in debate.

That’s how much the Bidenistas and the SCOTUS majority care about the US Constitution and the First Amendment, which is supposed to stop this kind of thing.

Related: Court Upholds Injunction Against ‘Coercion’ of Social Media Platforms by WH, FBI, Surgeon General, Applies Four-Factor Test | MRCTV

As American history unfolds, and our rights continue to fall victim to federal, state, and local attack, one becomes more and more aware of the wisdom of 19th Century abolitionist and proto-libertarian Lysander Spooner. In his 1867 essay, “No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority,” Spooner correctly argued that none of us is a signatory party to any “constitutional contract.” Only the politicians agree to abide by it, and, contrary to their claims, these politicians have no authority over any of us, because none of us voluntary signed on.

Key to our current crisis is Spooner’s opening, in which he saliently notes that the Constitution has not stopped those politicians. Generation upon generation, bill upon bill, Executive Order upon Executive Order, judicial ruling upon judicial ruling, bureau upon bureau, the political forces have breached the Constitution and crushed our rights -- they have "colonized" social media, colonized workplaces, and even colonized our speech with their political power.

And now, faced by our pushback, many of those black-robed “Justices” in DC show how little they care for the very “rule book” that created their court.

So we must beware. And, regardless of how the Justices rule in a few months, we ought to take Spooner’s words to heart, and learn about the nature of liberty versus every form of government power.

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