March 20, 2024

Biden Justice Raises Eyebrows Over First Amendment Comments

This week, the Supreme Court was hearing arguments for Murthy v. Missouri.

The case centers around the Biden administration using its influence with big tech to censor conservative comments online.

The initial case was brought by Missouri and Louisiana who claimed the government was censoring "under the guise of combating misinformation.”

Hamstringing the Government

The comments made by the justices were very interesting, and it is anyone’s best guess how the majority will rule in this case.

The big question here is the Biden administration crossed the line, flexing its muscle to censor information on social media.

Justice Samuel Alito made his position fairly clear, stating, "It's got these big clubs available to it, and so it's treating Facebook and these other platforms like their subordinates.”

Other justices were more middle of the road, seemingly leaning toward the government having the right to combat misinformation, but possibly not at the cost of violating the First Amendment.

That, however, then raises the question of whether the government is providing accurate information because as we all now know, that was not necessarily the case over the last decade.

What really got people’s attention, however, were the comments made by Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who made her position very clear.

She stated, "Your view has the First Amendment hamstringing the federal government in significant ways in the most important time periods.

"The government actually has a duty to take steps to protect the citizens of this country... by encouraging or even pressuring platforms to take down harmful information.”

John Shu, a constitutional attorney who served in both Bush administrations, commented, "Justice Jackson appears to be saying that she believes that the states’ view would prevent the government from explaining its facts or positions to the social media companies when there is some danger or imminent threat."

He added, “The First Amendment does not prevent government officials from complaining about a particular post or explaining why the post is factually incorrect. In fact, that’s why X has the ‘Community Notes’ function.”

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey also commented, stating, "It is hamstringing, and it's supposed to. The whole purpose of the Constitution is to protect us from the government, and the government exists to protect our rights.

“But here, the federal government is ignoring our First Amendment protections and weaponizing the federal government to silence our voices.

"And she's right. It limits what the federal government can and can't do. And that's a good thing.”

This is a very tricky case, as the liberal justices seemed to be presenting obvious extremes, such as terrorists recruiting on social media pages.

This is a fine line, but it is tough one to decide by the Supreme Court, but I have a feeling the government and Joe Biden are going to take the hit on this one.

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