Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Victory! Supreme Court To Hear Landmark Missouri v. Biden Censorship Case

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Justices of the US Supreme Court pose for their official photo at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on October 7, 2022. – (Seated from left) Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Samuel Alito and Associate Justice Elena Kagan, (Standing behind from left) Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

For months, the mainstream news media have described the Censorship Industrial Complex as a conspiracy theory invented by the Twitter Files journalists and Republicans. The New York Times, Washington Post, PBS “Frontline,” and most other news outlets have published story after story claiming that there is an orchestrated effort by people who don’t care about the truth to mischaracterize the work of well-intentioned “misinformation researchers.”

But now, the US Supreme Court has agreed to hear and rule upon the constitutionality of the Censorship Industrial Complex as denounced by the Attorneys General of Missouri and Louisiana in their lawsuit against the Biden administration for demanding censorship by social media platforms of disfavored views on Covid, elections, and other issues.

“We look forward to vindicating the 1st Amendment rights of our clients, and all Americans, in the nation’s highest court,” wrote Jenin Younes, a staff attorney for the New Civil Liberties Association, on X. Younes has been working with Columbia Law Professor, Philip Hamburger, who Public interviewed in July. Together they represent Stanford Professor Jay Bhattacharya, also interviewed by Public in July, former UC Irvine psychiatrist Aaron Kheriaty, Harvard professor, Martin Kulldorff, and others

It’s not all good news. The Supreme Court also granted the Biden administration’s motion to stay the injunction until it can hear the case later this year or next. As a result, US government employees are no longer prohibited from communicating to social media companies, as they had been by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. This resulted in a dissenting opinion by Supreme Court justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorush, and Clarence Thomas.

“Government censorship of private speech is antithetical to our democratic form of government,” wrote Alito, “and therefore today’s decision is highly disturbing…. Despite the Government’s conspicuous failure to establish a threat of irreparable harm, the majority stays the injunction and thus allows the defendants to persist in committing the type of First Amendment violations that the lower courts identified. The majority takes this action in the face of the lower courts’ detailed findings of fact.”

We agree with Alito, et al., but are also enormously relieved that the Supreme Court will hear the case at all. Many neutral legal observers say this is one of the most important censorship cases in the Court’s history. It will be, without a doubt, the most important since the rise of the Internet over the last 30 years. It will likely have implications on free speech issues for the next 30 or more.

And Alito’s strong statement is a sign that there are at least three justices who understand the grave peril we are in so long as the Censorship Industrial Complex exists. “At this time in the history of our country, what the Court has done, I fear, will be seen by some as giving the Government a green light to use heavy-handed tactics to skew the presentation of views on the medium that increasingly dominates the dissemination of news.”

Now, the responsibility on the plaintiffs and the justices grows heavier. The plaintiffs will need to explain to the justices why we need them to act to stop the government from using not just coercive measures but all measures to motivate social media and Internet search companies from engaging in politically-motivated censorship. As Hamburger noted, the First Amendment protects free speech from forms of government interference that include but also go far beyond coercion. The First Amendment says there shall be “no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” [emphasis added].

As we were the first to report, Facebook executives decided to agree to Biden White House demands for censorship simply fearing that the Biden Administration would not help protect its $2 billion business in Europe.

There’s no guarantee the Supreme Court will do the right thing. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, as we have learned. We will fight to dismantle and defund the Censorship Industrial Complex, no matter what the Court rules. The New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, and PBS may persist with their conspiracy theory that the Censorship Industrial Complex is a conspiracy theory invented by the Twitter Files journalists and Republicans, and that the self-appointed censors are well-intentioned “misinformation researchers.” But as the case is debated in our highest court, attracting international attention, and resulting in a ruling one way or another, fewer and fewer people will believe them.

— MS

How Wokeism Ends

Greta Thunberg, the 20-year-old Swedish climate activist, posed in a photo while holding up a sign that read “STAND WITH GAZA.” Included in the photo, above her left-hand shoulder, was a stuffed toy octopus. The latter is “a symbol often used in anti-Jewish propaganda since being used in a Nazi-era cartoon,” noted the New York Post.

Some supporters of Israel were outraged. “Whoever identifies with Greta in any way in the future, in my view, is a terror supporter,” said a spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

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