Two Washington-based groups representing Google, Facebook, and other tech giants filed an emergency application with the Supreme Court on Friday, seeking to block a Texas law that bars social media companies from removing posts based on a user’s political ideology, The Washington Post reported.
According to The Washington Post, the Texas law took effect Wednesday after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans lifted a district court injunction that had barred it. The appeals court action shocked the industry, which has been largely successful in batting back Republican state leaders’ efforts to regulate social media companies’ content-moderation policies.
NetChoice posted information titled: “NetChoice Announces Request for Emergency Stay from the U.S. Supreme Court”. From the information:
…On May 13, 2022, NetChoice and CCIA filed an application for an emergency stay with Justice Alito of the Supreme Court. Under Court procedures, Justice Alito may rule unilaterally or refer the matter to the full Court for consideration…
“The divided panel’s shocking decision to greenlight an unconstitutional law – without explanation – demanded the extraordinary response of seeking emergency Supreme Court intervention,” said Chris Marchese, Counsel for NetChoice.
“Texas HB 20 strips private online businesses of their speech rights, forbids them from making constitutionally protected editorial decisions, and forces them to publish and promote objectionable content,” continued Marchese. “The First Amendment prohibits Texas from forcing online platforms to host and promote foreign propaganda, pornography, pro-Nazi speech, and spam.”…
…”We are hopeful the Supreme Court will quickly reverse the Fifth Circuit, and we remain confident that the law will ultimately be struck down as unconstitutional.”
The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) posted news titled: “CIAA Files Emergency Brief Asking Supreme Court To Halt Texas Social Media Law”. From the news:
“The Computer & Communications Industry Association jointly filed an emergency brief Friday asking the U.S. Supreme Court for immediate action to prevent an unconstitutional Texas social media law from going into affect. The joint filing, submitted with co-plaintiff NetChoice, asks the Court to reinstate a lower court’s decision blocking the enforcement of the Texas statute while it is being reviewed under the First Amendment…
…CCIA has advocated for free speech online for more than 25 years. This effort has included protecting the First Amendment right for citizens and businesses to exercise both the right to speak and not be compelled to speak online.
The Verge reported that NetChoice had previously won a similar case in Florida last year, making the constitutional issues in this case even more pressing to address.
According to The Verge, the three-judge panel on the Fifth Circuit appeared to be confused about many of the basic terms being used – one judge seemed to think that Twitter was not a website, and another seemed to think there was no difference between a phone company like Verizon and a social media company like Twitter or Facebook.
It is not unheard of for a court to pick a side to support when presented with a case. Personally, I do not have any faith at all in the decision making process of the Supreme Court as it stands today.