LIVE UPDATES: Supreme Court to Weigh If Biden Admin Illegally Pressured Social Media to Censor Content

Gun Rights

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two landmark freedom of speech cases Monday morning.

First, SCOTUS will hear arguments in Murthy v. Missouri, which alleges that Biden administration officials engaged in what amounts to government-led censorship-by-proxy by pressuring social media companies to take down posts or suspend accounts over content officials deemed as false or misleading.

Specifically, these allegedly censored posts related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the lab leak theory, the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, the 2020 election, Hunter Biden’s laptop, and other topics that were marked as disinformation or misinformation, according to plaintiffs.

The case is brought by the Republican attorneys general in Missouri and Louisiana, and five social media users. Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey previously told The Epoch Times that this amounted to “a vast censorship enterprise” that operates amid “a dystopian scenario, Orwellian in nature.”

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Plaintiffs argue that federal officials pulled the strings of social media censorship by applying coercion, threats, and pressure on social media companies to suppress free speech.

Potentially thousands of protestors are expected to descend on the Supreme Court building today to call for SCOTUS to side against the Biden administration in a case that is seen by many as pivotal for the fate of free speech.

The administration, meanwhile, has argued that by simply speaking to social media companies, government officials didn’t violate core constitutional rights.

“Government officials do not violate the First Amendment when they speak in public or in private to inform, to persuade, or to criticize speech by others,” the U.S. government wrote in a brief.

Opponents of this position argue that the government shouldn’t be involved with what’s allowed on social media at all, and say that permitting them to continue “jawboning” tech platforms into removing content poses significant risks to the future of free speech in the U.S. as social media has increasingly become a key political forum.

A separate case today, National Rifle Association (NRA) v. New York, also concerns free speech. The NRA alleges that a New York official violated the First Amendment by encouraging businesses to disassociate with the gun rights body in the wake of a mass shooting.

Former superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services Maria Vullo encouraged financial institutions to sever ties with the NRA, offering them rewards and regulatory lenience in exchange for doing so, after the 2018 Parkland, Florida shooting.

Even the American Civil Liberties Union, a left-leaning civil liberties organization, has condemned Ms. Vullo’s actions.

Ms. Vullo’s lawyers said in a response to NRA allegations that “the ability to opine on important questions of public policy is vital to the work of many government officials.” They added that Vullo “did not violate the First Amendment by expressing her views regarding a national tragedy.”

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