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Judge slams Biden officials’ censorship on social media as violation of first amendment

In this post:

  • A federal judge in Louisiana, Terry Doughty, recently issued a ruling stating that the Biden administration likely violated the First Amendment by censoring unfavorable views on social media during the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • In his 155-page opinion, Judge Doughty compared the United States government’s actions during the COVID-19 pandemic to the fictional “Ministry of Truth” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. 
  • The ruling takes immediate effect, but it is not a final decision and can be appealed by the Biden administration to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

A federal judge in Louisiana, Terry Doughty, recently issued a ruling stating that the Biden administration likely violated the First Amendment by censoring unfavorable views on social media during the coronavirus pandemic. Judge Doughty referred to these efforts as “Orwellian” and issued a preliminary injunction that prohibits several federal officials and agencies from contacting social media firms to discourage or remove speech protected by the First Amendment. The lawsuit, led by Republican-led states, alleges that the administration pressured social media companies to remove posts containing misinformation about the coronavirus and other topics.

In his 155-page opinion, Judge Doughty compared the United States government’s actions during the COVID-19 pandemic to the fictional “Ministry of Truth” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. He cited various topics, such as opposition to COVID-19 vaccines, masking, lockdowns, the lab-leak theory, the 2020 election, and claims about Hunter Biden’s laptop, as examples of conservative views that were allegedly suppressed on social media. Doughty noted that the targeted suppression of conservative ideas indicated viewpoint discrimination and violated political speech rights.

Biden administration’s alleged censorship

The ruling takes immediate effect, but it is not a final decision and can be appealed by the Biden administration to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. The Justice Department declined to comment on the ruling, and the White House had not responded to requests for comment at the time of the report.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry praised the ruling as a “historic injunction” against the Biden administration’s alleged censorship of political speech on social media. He described the evidence presented in the case as “shocking and offensive.”

The Justice Department has argued that federal officials were merely encouraging social media companies to moderate their platforms and that their speech was protected by the First Amendment. They denied engaging in threats or coercion to de-platform certain speeches or speakers, although some top officials had criticized the companies for hosting anti-vaccine content.

It is worth noting that Judge Doughty had been overseeing a lawsuit filed by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana, which claimed that the administration’s pressure on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube amounted to censorship. However, in January, the 5th Circuit blocked efforts to compel former White House press secretary Jen Psaki to testify in the case, rebuking Doughty.

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Ryan Salame
Cryptopolitan
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