In a significant ruling, a federal judge has issued a temporary injunction prohibiting Biden administration officials from engaging with social media platforms in an attempt to manipulate or suppress “protected speech.” The decision, originating from a lawsuit filed by former Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, marks a victory for advocates of free speech.

Judge Terry A. Doughty, a Trump-appointed judge serving in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, has ordered several federal agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to refrain from pressuring or inducing social media companies to remove or reduce content containing protected free speech. However, the ruling does not prevent these agencies from notifying platforms about crimes, national security threats, or foreign attempts to influence elections.

The litigation, initiated last year, alleges collusion between the federal government and social media giants such as Twitter and Facebook to stifle freedom of speech. Judge Doughty, while not issuing a final ruling, acknowledged the plaintiffs’ evidence of a concerted effort by defendants, spanning from the White House to federal agencies, to suppress speech based on its content.

In response, government attorneys argued that federal officials lack the authority to dictate the removal of content from social media platforms. They accused GOP attorneys general of distorting communications with companies regarding public health disinformation and election conspiracies.

Former Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in November, expressed jubilation on Twitter, hailing the injunction as a significant triumph for the First Amendment on this Independence Day. The case initially involved Missouri and Louisiana, but over the past year, additional plaintiffs who encountered issues with social media companies for spreading misinformation online were included.

While this ruling is temporary, it highlights the ongoing debate surrounding the role of social media platforms in moderating content and the potential infringement on free speech. The final outcome of this lawsuit will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications for the future of online discourse and the protection of constitutional rights.

By Grady Owen

After training a pack of Raptors on Isla Nublar, Owen Grady changed his name and decided to take a job as an entertainment writer. Now armed with a computer and the internet, Grady Owen is prepared to deliver the best coverage in movies, TV, and music for you.