Appeals court upholds decision barring Biden admin from colluding with Big Tech to censor

"The First Amendment remains intact," posted Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey.

Published: September 8, 2023 6:45pm

Updated: September 8, 2023 6:55pm

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday upheld a low court decision in Missouri v. Biden barring the federal government from working with social media companies to remove First Amendment-protected content.

"Defendants, and their employees and agents, shall take no actions, formal or informal, directly or indirectly, to coerce or significantly encourage social-media companies to remove, delete, suppress, or reduce, including through altering their algorithms, posted social-media content containing protected free speech," the decision reads. "That includes, but is not limited to, compelling the platforms to act, such as by intimating that some form of punishment will follow a failure to comply with any request, or supervising, directing, or otherwise meaningfully controlling the social-media companies' decision-making process."

"The First Amendment remains intact," posted Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey after the decision went public. "The first brick was laid in the wall of separation between tech and state on July 4th, and this ruling is yet another brick. Missouri will continue to lead the way in the fight to defend our most fundamental freedoms. But we’re not done yet. We’re just getting started."

Judge Terry Doughty in July issued the original decision, determining that the government efforts to censor disfavored viewpoints during the coronavirus pandemic likely violated the First Amendment. His original injunction barred a litany of federal officials from colluding with social media, which the modified order from the 5th circuit largely left intact.

Bailey highlighted that the appellate court decision blocks the "White House, Surgeon General, CDC, & FBI from violating the First Amendment rights of millions of Americans."

The injunction had been stayed by the 5th Circuit pending the appeals outcome. A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit heard arguments in early August over the matter, with many judges expressing skepticism of the government's arguments at the time.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

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