Supreme Court delivers ‘gut punch,’ allows White House coercion of social media platforms

In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court delivered Team Biden an “important election year victory, as CNN characterized a ruling Wednesday allowing the White House and federal agencies such as the FBI to lean on social media platforms to censor content viewed as misinformation.

Hunter Biden’s laptop fell into this category in the runup to the 2020 pandemic-marred election, as did COVID-19 information shared by medical professionals that did not support the prescribed pro-vaccine narrative at the time — the censored content standing up to the test of time, of course.

Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who wrote the majority opinion, and Justice Brett Kavanaugh sided with the three liberal justices in throwing out claims the Biden administration unlawfully coerced social media companies into removing contentious content, NBC News reported.

The decision overturned an injunction that would have limited contact between government officials and social media companies on a wide range of issues, according to the network.

Barrett said the plaintiffs, Republican attorneys general in Louisiana and Missouri, along with five social media users, failed to show they had suffered harm.

More from NBC News:

She noted that social media platforms routinely moderated content even before the alleged coercion happened.

“In fact, the platforms, acting independently, had strengthened their pre-existing content moderation policies before the government defendants got involved,” she added.

While the evidence shows government officials “played a role” in moderation choices, that is not enough to justify a sweeping injunction, Barrett wrote.


Justice Samuel Alito, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Neil Gorsuch, said in the dissent he authored that the case was “one of the most important free speech cases to reach this Court in years,” according to CNN.

“The Court, however, shirks that duty and thus permits the successful campaign of coercion in this case to stand as an attractive model for future officials who want to control what the people say, hear, and think,” Alito wrote. “That is regrettable.”

Alito would also characterize the conduct of the officials sued in the case as “unconstitutional,” “coercive” and “dangerous.”

George Washington Law professor Jonathan Turley, a liberal, voiced the frustration felt by those who value free speech.

“The government is engaging in censorship by surrogate… they have made a mockery of the limits of the 1st Amendment,” Turley said during an appearance on Fox News.

The reaction on social media was swift.

“Huge victory at the Supreme Court for anti-speech movement,” posted The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway.

Here is a sampling of other responses from X, including Glenn Beck, who called the ruling “an absolute gut punch.”

Tom Tillison


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