Supreme Court sides with Biden administration in social media case

Republican-led states argued that social media platforms can violate the Constitution by blocking conservative views.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Biden administration in a dispute with Republican-led states regarding the federal government’s authority to address controversial social media posts related to topics like COVID-19 and election security.

By a 6-3 vote, the justices overturned lower-court rulings that supported claims by states like Louisiana and Missouri that the Democratic administration pressured social media platforms to silence conservative viewpoints unconstitutionally.

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The big picture: Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote for the court, stating that the states and other parties lacked the legal standing to sue, with Justices Alito, Gorsuch and Thomas dissenting.

  • The case is part of several this term involving social media companies and free speech, including laws in Florida and Texas and public officials blocking social media followers.
  • The disputes revolve around allegations of censoring conservative viewpoints, with claims that government officials pressured social media platforms to change online content.
  • While concerns were raised during arguments, the Biden administration highlighted the implications of losing the ability to address issues like antisemitism, national security, and public health with social media platforms.
  • The Supreme Court decision did not address the substance of the claims, focusing instead on the lack of standing of the plaintiffs to seek an injunction.

Flashback: The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had previously ruled that the Biden administration applied unconstitutional pressure on media platforms, leading to the eventual Supreme Court ruling in this case.

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