California Attorney General Rob Bonta is leading 23 Democrat-led states in pushing the Supreme Court to overturn a decision that banned the government from communicating with social media companies on matters of public concern.
Driving the news: Bonta joined an amicus brief in Murthy v. Missouri to support the right of the federal government to communicate with social media companies.
- The government seeks a reversal of the Fifth Circuit’s decision in Missouri v. Biden, which affirmed what Bonta considers “a sweeping injunction” that prohibits communication with social media platforms about content moderation.
- The appeals court ruled that the government “likely violated” the First Amendment and issued a preliminary injunction banning the government from such communications.
- Republicans have accused the government of working with social media companies to censor speech on a variety of topics, including COVID-19 and Hunter Biden’s laptop.
Bonta’s argument: Bonta argued that maintaining open lines of communication between the government and social media companies on topics such as extremist violence, child safety and consumer protection is mutually beneficial, furthers the public interest and fully complies with the First Amendment.
- The appeals court’s decision, according to Bonta, dangerously restricts the government from addressing threats to public safety.
What they’re saying: “Social media is a daily source for news and information across the country,” Bonta said in a statement. “The Fifth Circuit’s decision which blocks virtually any outreach to social media platforms about content moderation by numerous federal government agencies and officials is extraordinarily sweeping and threatens efforts to address threats to public health and safety.”