Biden Admin Violated Americans’ Free Speech Rights during Pandemic, 5th Circuit Rules
With the gradual return of a mild form of COVID, the government has been preparing its response. Considerations of previously used methods are surfacing yet again, with potential reinforcement of mask mandates, requested funding for a new vaccine, and discussions of whether lockdowns are in order. The pandemic and the controversial government lockdowns, vaccine, and mask mandates caused pandemonium across the globe, and particularly in America, tensions continue to simmer.
As reported by The Hill, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has found that the Biden administration is likely guilty of violating the First Amendment due to “pressuring social media companies to moderate their content on misinformation surrounding vaccines” during the initial wave of the virus. On Tuesday’s edition of “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins,” Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey (R) discussed the matter further.
Bailey, alongside Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (R), initiated charges against the government for First Amendment violations through Missouri v. Biden. “This is all about protecting our constitutional right to free speech,” Bailey said. “[T]he rights codified in the Bill of Rights come from God, not man. The purpose of the Constitution is to protect us from the government … [and] the First Amendment right to free speech is to invite … a marketplace of free ideas where we can disagree with the government.”
He shared how evidence of Biden attempting to silence Americans includes “20,000 pages of documents” and “numerous depositions” uncovering the White House demanding that social media platforms censor certain viewpoints about COVID. This evidence led to a preliminary injunction obtained on July 4, which Bailey characterized as “the first brick in the wall” between tech and state to protect the right to free speech.
The Fifth Circuit wrote that the magnitude of the censorship enterprise conducted by the White House was worse than the 1798 Alien and Sedition Act, which President John Adams instituted to, as Bailey emphasized, “jail and imprison anyone who opposed his foreign policy.” He added, “We’ve uncovered the worst First Amendment violations in this nation’s history, but we’re not going to let Joe Biden destroy free speech in America.”
Considering the severity of these violations, Perkins said, “I mean, this was damaging to the country. People were censored. People lost their jobs. There was so much that happened.” With the potential for this case to reach the Supreme Court, he posed the question, “Will anyone be held accountable?” To this, Bailey replied, “Absolutely.”
He continued, “The harm wasn’t frozen in time. … The harm is ongoing. … There’s a chilling effect on speech where now people are self-censoring.” After witnessing those who were deplatformed on social media, Bailey highlighted that people are now hesitant to speak out on matters for fear of censorship. “It’s not just the [speakers] whose voices were silenced, [but also the listeners who] could have used that information to make individualized decisions, that were harmed,” he concluded.
For Bailey, the practical outcome of these circumstances comes back to building the wall of separation between tech and state. He noted the Department of Justice and Biden’s attorneys “are dedicated to future violations of the First Amendment” considering their “noncommittal” attitude towards a halt on future censorship. “That wall of separation between tech and state is vital,” he said. “Now more than ever, COVID was the Trojan horse that got the enemy behind the wall.”
Perkins concluded, “If … we have [free speech] but we’re afraid to use it because we might lose it, then we don’t have it.”
Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.