Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Landmark Government Censorship Case
On October 20, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Missouri v. Biden, a case that could become a landmark in the area of free speech in America. The case centers around whether agencies within the federal government illegally colluded with social media companies to censor and suppress First Amendment-protected speech of American citizens.
While the court agreed to take up the case before the end of its June 2024 term, it temporarily blocked a lower court’s decision that would have barred the White House, the Surgeon General’s Office, the FBI, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from contacting social media companies. Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch dissented from the stay, writing that “Government censorship of private speech is antithetical to our democratic form of government, and therefore today’s decision is highly disturbing.”
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey (R), who is challenging the Biden administration along with Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) in the case, joined “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” to give his perspective on where things stand with the lawsuit.
“[I’m] disappointed that the court didn’t allow the injunction to remain in place [but] confident that eventually it will allow that injunction to go into place,” he said. “[W]e suffered the same setback at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and we’ve won twice there. We’ve [also] won once at the district court. … The score is Missouri three, Biden zero [in] the fight for free speech. We’re confident that ultimately the court will restore that injunction after hearing, briefing, and oral argument on this matter.”
Bailey expressed hope that the court will hear the case before the end of the year. “It’s important that the court move as expeditiously as possible,” he emphasized. “We’ve got to build a wall of separation between tech and state to defend [and] protect our First Amendment right to free speech, especially as we move into an election cycle. COVID was the excuse that Biden and his crony bureaucrats used, exploiting a national emergency to violate our constitutional rights and suppress any speech they disagreed with. We can’t let them do that.”
Bailey went on to describe the extensive amount of evidence that his legal team has compiled in order to implicate the Biden administration.
“We’ve only just begun to scratch the surface — 20,000 pages of documents or more, numerous depositions, all of that preliminary discovery to obtain a preliminary injunction,” he explained. “We can show you the emails where the White House communications office was directly censoring disfavored speech, calling to suppress a Tucker Carlson video, a Tomi Lahren post to de-emphasize, deplatform, [and] shadow ban anyone who questioned whether mask mandates or vaccines worked. … [T]he district court ruled there are 82 pages of factual findings. … We’ve proven it in court at this point. It’s been affirmed at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals twice now. … [W]e know in the past is that Big Tech changed their terms of service agreements and their censorship algorithms to satisfy federal officials demands.”
Bailey continued, “We know for a fact that the vast censorship enterprise grew so quickly under Biden’s watch that the federal government had to design a new bureaucratic apparatus to manage the censorship that was housed in the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) within the Department of Homeland Security. CISA’s entire purpose is to protect roads, bridges, and computer databases. And yet the director of CISA said, ‘Well, there’s also cognitive infrastructure.’ So the director is committed to controlling what we say, what we think, what we hear. And that justifies in their minds their constitutional violations.”
In March, a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing featured journalists who testified about further evidence that was uncovered after the release of the “Twitter Files,” including censorship efforts conducted by the FBI, HHS, DOD, the Global Engagement Center at the State Department, and the CIA.
Bailey argued that the Biden administration’s censorship efforts are not just violating the free speech rights of social media posters, but of all social media users.
“[Censorship] absolutely is still happening,” he underscored. “… Essentially, every user on Big Tech, their rights have been violated because they were deprived of information necessary upon which to make good personal health care decisions or, potentially, decisions at the ballot box. When Big Tech suppressed, at the federal government’s demand, the Hunter Biden laptop story, at some point that becomes election interference. [Also], the harm is still occurring because of self-censorship. People are less likely to want to talk about President Trump or COVID issues or election integrity because they’re afraid they’ll get booted off the platforms.”
“These are the worst First Amendment violations in this nation’s history,” Bailey contended.
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.