Court ruling allows Texas attorney general to proceed with Twitter probe over Trump ban

If Paxton's office brings an unfair trade practices case against Twitter, the company is free to raise First Amendment concerns at that time.

Updated: March 3, 2022 - 4:36pm

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The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Twitter's lawsuit against Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, which will allow the AG to continue his probe into the social media giant for its lifetime ban of former President Donald Trump.

The 20-page ruling on Wednesday affirmed a district court's decision after Twitter brought forward a lawsuit claiming that Paxton's investigation was "government retaliation for speech protected by the First Amendment," according to the court documents.

The investigation may still be halted, pending further developments, but the court found that at the moment, Paxton's probe did not infringe upon Twitter's constitutional rights.

If Paxton's office brings an unfair trade practices case against Twitter, the company is free to raise First Amendment concerns at that time.

"[A]ddressing Twitter’s claim would require the district court to determine whether Twitter had made misrepresentations. But misrepresentations are exactly what are prohibited by Texas’s unfair and deceptive trade practices law; this is the very thing that Paxton claims [the Texas Office of the Attorney General] is trying to investigate. And at this stage, [the office] hasn’t even alleged that there is a violation," Judge Ryan D. Nelson wrote in the court’s opinion.

Paxton celebrated the victory against Twitter with a post on said platform.

"Last year, I launched an investigation into Twitter’s coordinated cancellation of Trump & conservative voices/platforms. Twitter sued me to get me to stop. I punched back & won at the district court &, just today, won at the appeals court. Big Tech is not above the law!" the attorney general wrote.

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