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Judge Delivers Major Blow to Biden in Social Media Censorship Case

A federal judge has made a historic ruling by partially granting an injunction that blocks various Biden administration officials and government agencies such as the Justice Department and the FBI from working with big tech firms to censor posts on social media.

The injunction came in response to a censorship-by-proxy lawsuit brought by attorneys general in Louisiana and Missouri, who have accused Biden administration officials and various government agencies of pressuring social media companies to suspend accounts or take down posts.

Judge Terry A. Doughty of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana wrote in the July 4 ruling (pdf) that various government agencies, including the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the U.S. State Department, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are prohibited from taking a range of actions regarding social media companies.

‘Shocking, Appalling, and Concerning’

Specifically, the agencies and their staff members are prohibited from meeting or contacting by phone, email, or text message or “engaging in any communication of any kind with social-media companies urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner for removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech,” per the injunction.

The agencies are also barred from flagging content on posts on social media platforms and forwarding them to the companies with requests for action such as removing or otherwise suppressing their reach.

Encouraging or otherwise egging on social media companies to change their guidelines for the removal, suppression, or reduction of content that contains protected free speech by the government also isn’t allowed.

“This could be arguably one of the most important First Amendment cases in modern history,” Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, one of the plaintiffs, told The Epoch Times’ “American Thought Leaders” in an interview following the ruling.

“If you look at the opinion that the judge lays out, he takes from our argument that this is basically one of the most massive undertakings of the federal government to limit American speech in the history of our country. The things that we uncovered, in this case, should be both shocking, appalling, and concerning for all Americans.”

Doughty, a Trump appointee, wrote in the decision that the Republican attorneys general who sued the Biden administration “have produced evidence of a massive effort by Defendants, from the White House to federal agencies, to suppress speech based on its content.”

While the judge’s ruling isn’t final, the preliminary injunction is a victory for the Republican attorneys general, who have accused the Biden administration of pressuring big tech companies to engage in a censorship-by-proxy scheme.

“I think that this injunction today certainly begins curtailing government action, and telling social media companies what they can and cannot allow on their platforms,” Landry said.

‘All Were Suppressed’

The judge wrote in an accompanying memorandum that the plaintiffs are “likely to succeed on the merits in establishing that the Government has used its power to silence the opposition.”

“Opposition to COVID-19 vaccines; opposition to COVID-19 masking and lockdowns; opposition to the lab-leak theory of COVID-19; opposition to the validity of the 2020 election; opposition to President Biden’s policies; statements that the Hunter Biden laptop story was true; and opposition to policies of the government officials in power. All were suppressed,” Doughty wrote.

Landry gave examples of censorship-by-proxy at the hands of the Biden administration, including email chains between high-ranking White House officials and social media platforms targeting specific individuals, such as presidential hopeful Robert Kennedy Jr. and media personality Tucker Carlson, “directly targeting them and asking those social media platforms to take their content down.”

“There are a number of things that as we uncovered information in the discovery process of this case, that was shocking to us, all of that was presented to this judge,” Landry said. “And that’s what I think was compelling him to eventually do what he did today, which is to order and give us the injunction.”

Similarly, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey hailed the decision in a series of posts on social media.

“The Court has granted our motion to BLOCK top officials in the federal government from violating the First Amendment rights of millions of Americans. What a way to celebrate Independence Day,” he said in a statement on Twitter.

“The preliminary injunction prohibits nearly all of the federal government, including DHS, DOJ, and HHS, from coercing and colluding with social media companies to censor free speech.”

However, the judge did make some exceptions in his order, allowing government officials to contact social media companies to alert them of criminal activity or threats to national security.

Also allowed are contacts notifying social media companies about posts intending to mislead voters about voting requirements or procedures, as well as communicating with companies about suppressing posts that aren’t protected free speech.

The injunction pertains to various named agencies as well as their agents, officers, employees, and contractors.

The White House and various agencies named in the injunction didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.

Landry said he expects that the defendants will appeal the ruling and, in response, he and Bailey will “aggressively defend it,” noting that he thinks the case will eventually be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We’re not done yet,” Bailey wrote in a post. “We’re just getting started.”

  • Ron Divine says:

    That’s great, but way late to stop what has already been done. The radical left minions embedded throughout the govt agencies have been allowed to operate at will without any reigns. Finally, a judge with nuts the size of basketballs, has stated they are prevented from contacting social media providers in any way! Enforcing this action is a whole other issue!

  • Sherry says:

    Thank God for a judge that can stand up for our 1st. Amendment

  • Backgammon says:

    Had Elon Musk not purchased Twitter, we would never, ever know this information.

  • Once Proud Veteran says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong here. biden swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States when he took office in january of 2021. Why is it that he has done nothing but try to shred the Constitution since then? Why is he still in office and not in a MENS prison playing leapfrog with Bubba?

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