CDT Filed Lawsuit Against Trump’s Executive Order

The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) has filed a lawsuit against President Trump’s “Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship”. The suit argues that the executive order violates the First Amendment by curtailing and chilling the constitutionally protected speech of online platforms and individuals. CDT is represented by the law firm of Mayer Brown.

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has a good explanation of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, (which President Trump’s executive order targets). In short, Section 230 says: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” It protects social media companies (such as Twitter and Facebook) from being held legally responsible for what users post on their platforms.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiff is Center for Democracy & Technology and the defendant is President Donald Trump. In the 28-page lawsuit, CDT details the ways in which President Trump’s executive order is “retaliatory motivation and his goal of chilling future protected speech that is inconsistent with his views render the Executive Order violative of the First Amendment”.

CDT President & CEO Alexandra Givens has some quotes on their website, including this one:

“The Executive Order is designed to deter social media services from fighting misinformation, voter suppression, and the stoking of violence on their platforms. Access to accurate information about the voting process and the security of our elections infrastructure is the lifeblood of democracy. The President has made clear that his goal is to use threats of retaliation and future regulation to intimidate intermediaries into changing how they moderate content, essentially ensuring that the dangers of voter suppression and disinformation will grow unchecked in an election year.”

The New York Times reported that CDT’s lawsuit asks the court to invalidate the executive order. The New York Times states that this lawsuit, “…is indicative of the pushback that the president is likely to face as he escalates his fight with social media companies, which he has accused of bias against conservative voices.”