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The Supreme Court Ruling Isn’t the End of the Online Free Speech Battle

June 30, 2024

The New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) civil rights group is not giving up on the free speech fight it has been conducting on behalf of the respondents/plaintiffs in the Murthy v. Missouri case. The tactic is now to go for expanded discovery, aimed at demonstrating direct harm caused by government censorship.

A statement to this effect comes after the US Supreme Court voted 6-3 to lift a preliminary injunction that prevented the White House and several powerful agencies (CDC, FBI, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the Surgeon General’s Office) from interacting with social media companies by “encouraging” (or coercing) them to carry out censorship of lawful and protected speech.

The ruling is seen by critics and those who brought and supported the case aimed at ending this type of collusion as yet another blow to the First Amendment, and to make things worse, shortly ahead of another US presidential election.

NCLA said that the Supreme Court decision – which overturned the injunction previously ordered by a district court and upheld by the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit – leaves its clients “without redress.”

This is despite the fact their original lawsuit had to do with blacklisting, shadow-banning, deranking, account termination, and other forms of censorship, believed to have been done because of pressure coming from the government.

This was happening during the time of the previous campaign and in the wake of the election – concerning, among others, the issues that featured prominently in that campaign, namely those around Covid controversies.

But the NCLA said that despite the Supreme Court ruling which “practically erased the First Amendment and permitted government to co-opt private entities, like social media platforms, to accomplish its censorship aims” – the battle for free speech will continue in lower courts.

NCLA litigation counsel Jenin Younes has told the Federalist Radio Hour podcast that the rights group is not giving up and it has decided to pursue the case on the merits in the district court. “We want to get more discovery,” said Younes.

In the NCLA’s press release, Younes said that the Supreme Court has “green lighted the government’s unprecedented censorship regime, which resulted in the censorship of top scientists like our clients on the areas of their expertise,” adding:

“This decision is a travesty for the First Amendment, for Americans’ rights to free speech, and for the pursuit of scientific and other knowledge.”

One of the dissenting Supreme Court justices, Samuel Alito, expressed a similar sentiment as he warned that the government’s actions were “blatantly unconstitutional, and the country may come to regret the Court’s failure to say so.”

Originally Published in Reclaim The Net

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