A federal judge is interested in the nature of the government’s interactions with major technology corporations and has ordered the government to disclose its communications.
Western District of Louisiana U.S. District Court Judge Terry Doughty denied the Biden administration’s motion to dismiss a landmark case alleging a conspiracy between the federal government and Big Tech to censor specific COVID-19 users.
In Missouri v. Biden, the states of Louisiana and Missouri filed a lawsuit alleging that social media companies censored certain viewpoints and users on their platforms at the direction of members of President Joe Biden’s administration and leaders of federal government agencies.
“The Court finds that the Complaint alleges significant encouragement and coercion that converts the otherwise private conduct of censorship on social media platforms into state action, and is unpersuaded by Defendants’ arguments to the contrary,” Doughty wrote in his ruling.
Doughty said he was “unpersuaded” by some of the government’s arguments in court, particularly their attempts to downplay coercive threats as “isolated episodes in which federal officials engaged in rhetoric about misinformation on social media platforms.”
“Further, while the Government may certainly select the messages it wishes to convey, this freedom is limited by the more fundamental principle that a government entity may not employ threats to limit the free speech of private citizens,” Doughty wrote.
In contrast, Judge Doughty found that the states had “plausibly alleged state action under the theories of joint participation, entwinement, and the combining of factors such as subsidization, authorization, and encouragement.”
“Plaintiffs have clearly and plausibly alleged that Defendants engaged in viewpoint discrimination and prior restraints,” the judge wrote.
“If private speech could be passed off as government speech by simply affixing a government seal of approval, the government could silence or muffle the expression of disfavored viewpoints,” the ruling stated.
“The Complaint alleges more than the exercise of permissible government speech. It alleges extensive and highly effective efforts by government officials to ‘silence or muffle the expression of disfavored viewpoints,’” the judge wrote. “Accordingly, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have plausibly alleged state action under the theory of significant encouragement and/or coercion.”
Sen. Eric Schmitt, a Republican from Missouri, accused the Biden administration of leading “the largest speech censorship operation in recent American history,” which he discovered while serving as attorney general of Missouri.
“The Biden Administration has led the largest speech censorship operation in recent American history,” Schmitt said. “Since taking office, President Biden and his team have labored to suppress viewpoints with which they disagree. And in so doing, they have infringed upon the individual freedoms of millions of Americans.”
Schmitt stated that the Biden administration “colluded with social media giants Meta, Twitter, and YouTube to censor free speech in the name of combating so-called ‘disinformation’ and ‘misinformation,’ which led to the suppression and censorship of truthful information on a scale never before seen.”
More on this story via Conservative Brief:
The case is scheduled for a preliminary injunction hearing on May 12. CONTINUE READING…