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Biden Administration Trumps Free Speech in Supreme Court

Biden Administration Trumps Free Speech in Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court has issued a ruling on one of the most important free speech cases in years.

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In a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court tossed out a case that sought to hold government officials accountable for violating First Amendment free speech rights during the COVID pandemic.

Disappointingly, the Court deferred on the critical questions of free speech and censorship raised in Murthy v. Missouri. As stated by the petitioners (plaintiffs) in the case, the government engaged in “a broad pressure campaign designed to coerce social media companies into suppressing speakers, viewpoints, and content disfavored by the government.”

The Court found that the plaintiffs did not have proper standing to sue federal officials because there wasn’t enough concrete evidence of injury to prove that the censorship at issue was a result of government actions. As a result, the plaintiffs failed to show that they had been harmed by government action, a necessity for proving that First Amendment rights had been violated.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil M. Gorsuch, wrote in the dissenting opinion that “this is one of the most important free speech cases to reach this Court in years…For months, high-ranking government officials placed unrelenting pressure on Facebook to suppress Americans’ free speech. Because the court unjustifiably refuses to address this serious threat to the First Amendment, I respectfully dissent.”

We wrote about this case a few weeks ago. We noted how the court documents showed extensive first-hand evidence that the White House and US Surgeon General’s office bullied or at least coerced social media platforms, threatening potential criminal prosecution for harboring communications that would lead to an “insurrection” or face “robust anti-trust program.” Social media owners were told they would be “held accountable” after the Biden administration stated publicly on July 16, 2021, that Facebook and other platforms were “killing people.”

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, writing for the majority, argued that social media platforms were moderating content well before COVID-19. “In fact, the platforms, acting independently, had strengthened their pre-existing content moderation policies before the government defendants got involved,” she added. While she acknowledges that government officials “played a role” in moderation choices, that is not enough to justify an injunction.

The Court’s decision to deny standing is a signal that the legal system is just as distorted as the scientific and medical systems, that it is subject to the same biases and desire to maintain the status quo. The Court avoided consideration of the copious evidence showing that the administration treated private Big Tech platforms as an extension of itself. It’s a major missed opportunity for the highest court in the land to weigh in on the constitutionality of government-initiated online censorship—an incredibly pressing issue as we move forward in the digital age. This decision empowers government officials and Big Tech to keep censoring us under the guise of weeding out “misinformation,” which is defined as broadly as you like to include essentially anything that goes against the government’s narrative and health edicts.

This highlights the importance of our FreeSpeech4Health campaign to pressure Big Social and others who moderate content on the public airwaves with a view to co-creating future-fit medical misinformation policies. If you haven’t already, please sign the petition below as the first step in our wider campaign—then share the link with your networks!

You can find out more about the attack on free speech and related issues in a recent interview of our executive and scientific director, Rob Verkerk, Ph.D., by Meryl Nass, M.D. on CHD.TV:

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