Big Win at the Fifth Circuit Against Biden's Unconstitutional Censoring of Conservatives' Free Speech on Social Media

By 

Craig Parshall

|
September 14, 2023

4 min read

Free Speech

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The ACLJ has been active in following and, even more importantly, opposing the audacious attempt by the Biden Administration to put a stranglehold on the free speech rights of Americans. In a case in which we filed an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief pushing back against this outrage, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has just ruled that the Biden White House, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the FBI, and the Surgeon General have committed an unprecedented assault on the First Amendment rights of U.S. citizens.

Through the use of pressure applied against social media giants like Facebook, Instagram, Google, and Twitter, they accomplished covertly what they could never have accomplished openly; namely, shutting down the online speech of Americans when those opinions departed from the Biden political agenda.

The harm done through this politically motivated campaign that was conducted under the ruse of supposed “misinformation” is almost incalculable. As the Court of Appeals noted: “The harms that radiate from such conduct extend far beyond just the Plaintiffs; it impacts every social-media user.”

The evidence in the case brought by the states of Missouri and Louisiana, together with several private citizens, has thus far shown a shutdown of a wide range of topics that the Biden Administration has been quietly censoring over the internet since taking over the White House, and even before. The breadth of those subjects is stunning. The court noted that blocked information included the “COVID-19 lab-leak theory, pandemic lockdowns, vaccine side effects, election fraud, and the Hunter Biden laptop story.” The Biden laptop story had been investigated by the New York Post, but its blockbuster report released just before the 2020 election was stifled over the internet at the request of government agents and the Biden campaign. As we noted in our brief to the court, the suppression of the Hunter Biden story, and the delay in the electorate finding out, may have impacted the outcome of the 2020 election:

By October 26, twelve days after the New York Post’s exposé and the Facebook/Twitter news ban, more than 58 million voters had already cast their early ballots, but some apparently were regretting it; Google trends data revealed that “change my vote” was spiking on Google’s search engine and that it was linked to searches for “Hunter Biden.”

Concluding that the Biden White House and its agencies had applied improper pressure through “coercion” and “significant encouragement” to get Big Tech platforms to do their bidding, the Fifth Circuit affirmed a preliminary injunction against the Biden White House, FBI, CDC, and Surgeon General. The order prevents one aspect of this reign of censorship from continuing – the under-radar pressure campaign specifically by the White House that has used social media platforms to censor opinions and facts that it disagrees with. But that isn’t the end of the story.

As its name suggests, a “preliminary” injunction is just that, a temporary order. The full trial against the Biden Administration is still to come and, along with it, the potential of an even broader, permanent injunction. It is possible that, in the end, several other federal agencies under the influence of the White House might be added to the list of Biden agents who are currently enjoined from shredding the First Amendment. At the ACLJ, our own investigation has uncovered even more examples of similar free speech abuses of federal power by other powerful Washington bureaucrats. 

What is really at stake here? The Court of Appeals didn’t mince words in describing why this case is so momentous and so troubling:

The Supreme Court has rarely been faced with a coordinated campaign of this magnitude orchestrated by federal officials that jeopardized a fundamental aspect of American life.

Meanwhile, you can count on the ACLJ to continue the fight for your free speech liberties, whether online or in other public venues. The future of our nation and our constitutional republic depends on it.