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Supreme Court temporarily blocks Texas social media content moderation law

The vote was decided by an unusual majority

Published: May 31, 2022 5:19pm

Updated: May 31, 2022 5:51pm

The U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 on Tuesday to temporarily block the Texas law that prohibits social media companies from moderating content based on users' views.

The justices granted the tech industry's emergency request to stop a lower court order that would have implemented the law while legal challenges were pending, CNN reported.

The votes came down to an unusual majority with liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer siding with conservative Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

Liberal Justice Elena Kagan joined right-leaning justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch, who all said they would have denied the tech industry's request.

Kagan did not join the three justices in explaining why she would have allowed the Texas law to remain in place, but Alito, also writing on behalf of Thomas and Gorsuch, was critical of the majority decision in his dissent.

He argued that the court's decision was a "significant intrusion on state sovereignty, and Texas should not be required to seek preclearance from the federal courts before its laws go into effect."

The justice noted, "It is not at all obvious how our existing precedents, which predate the age of the internet, should apply to large social media companies, but Texas argues that its law is permissible under our case law."

The decision is a loss for the state of Texas, who argued that the law regulating social media platforms did not violate the First Amendment.

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