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Changizi v. HHS

CASE: Mark Changizi, et al. v. Department of Health and Human Services, et al.

STATUS: Active

NCLA ROLE: Counsel

COURTS HEARD IN: 6th Cir., S.D. Ohio

ORIGINAL COURT: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Columbus Division

DECIDING COURT: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

OPENED: March 24, 2022

AGENCIES: Department of Health and Human Services

FOCUS AREAS:

Administrative Speech Controls

The Administrative State tries to squelch speech, especially through licensing, speech bans, and speech mandates. Licensing requires one to get the government’s permission prior to speaking. Nothing was more clearly forbidden by the First Amendment than prior restraints on speech, but such controls are now commonplace.

Due Process Violations

The due process of law guarantees a right to be held to account only through the processes of an impartial court—something administrative tribunals violate every day.

Scope of Authority / Nondelegation

The structure of the Constitution allows only Congress to legislate, only the Executive to enforce laws, and only the Judiciary to decide cases. But the Administrative State evades the Constitution’s avenues of governance when executive agencies issue regulations without statutory authorization from Congress.

The U.S. Surgeon General and HHS directed social media platforms including Twitter to censor alleged “misinformation” about Covid-19. The speech ban included information the Government later conceded was true but that conflicted with its messaging on Covid-19 at the time. The Surgeon General demanded that the tech companies turn over information about individuals who spread such “misinformation,” a clear intimidation tactic that HHS labeled a “Request for Information” (RFI). NCLA clients Mark Changizi, Daniel Kotzin, and Michael Senger each had or have Twitter accounts with tens of thousands of followers or more, but Twitter permanently banned Mr. Senger, temporarily suspending Mr. Changizi and Mr. Kotzin for their tweets about COVID-19.

After the Surgeon General and HHS issued a July 2022 advisory commanding technology platforms to collect data on the “spread and impact of misinformation” and “prioritize early detection of misinformation ‘super-spreaders’ and repeat offenders” by “impos[ing] clear consequences for accounts that repeatedly violate platform policies,” Twitter began suspending more and more accounts, some permanently. The type of censorship imposed on NCLA’s clients attacks the heart of what the First Amendment was designed to protect—free speech, especially political speech, much of which has later been vindicated as accurate. The Surgeon General’s RFI demanded that technology platforms turn over “information about sources of Covid-19 misinformation” to the Government by May 2, 2022, exceeding his statutory authority.

The statute cannot reasonably be interpreted to allow the Surgeon General to order tech companies to censor individuals with whom he disagrees on Covid policy, or demand that Twitter hand over information about such account holders without a probable cause-based warrant. Demanding social media platforms turn over information about users that the Government deems problematic violates of the Fourth Amendment.

Mark Changizi, Plaintiff

Mark Chenoweth
President and Chief Legal Officer
Sheng Li
Litigation Counsel
Jenin Younes
Litigation Counsel
Philip Hamburger
Chief Executive Officer
John J. Vecchione
Senior Litigation Counsel
Casey Norman
Litigation Counsel
NCLA FILINGS

Memorandum for the Respondents

April 29, 2024 | Read More

Brief of Amicus Curiae Foundation for Moral Law in Support of Petitioners

April 29, 2024 | Read More

Petition for a Writ of Certiorari

March 26, 2024 | Read More

Order of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

December 27, 2023 | Read More

Plaintiffs-Appellants’ Petition for Panel Rehearing and Rehearing en Banc

October 30, 2023 | Read More

PRESS RELEASES

NCLA Asks Supreme Court to Resolve Circuit Split over Standing in Social Media Censorship Cases

March 27, 2024 | Read More

NCLA Petitions en Banc Sixth Circuit to Halt Government-Directed Social Media Censorship

October 31, 2023 | Read More

NCLA Sixth Circuit Appeal Asks Court to Halt Government-Directed Social Media Censorship

November 29, 2022 | Read More

NCLA Takes on U.S. Surgeon General’s Censoring of Alleged Covid-19 “Misinformation” on Twitter

March 25, 2022 | Read More

IN THE MEDIA

Examining The CDC’s COVID Response Actions: “Coercion. Deception. Censorship.”

September 27, 2023

Lawsuit Challenges Federal Crackdown on COVID-19 Misinformation on Social Media

The Boston Globe

February 7, 2023

The Federal Government Is Using Twitter To Censor Speech It Doesn’t Like

The Bill Walton Show

February 7, 2023

Lawsuit: Biden Admin Pressuring Big Tech to Censor Users

The New American

February 7, 2023

Twitter Launches New Purge of COVID Contrarians While Reckoning With Musk, Free Speech Litigation

Just The News

February 7, 2023

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