Supreme Court Wants White House Take on Social Media laws

( – With just one published sentence, the US Supreme Court invited the Biden Administration to weigh in on controversial state laws governing social media sites.

SCOTUS asked the US Solicitor General to convey the “views of the United States” on these laws through a submission to the court.

At issue are laws in Florida and Texas aimed at preventing social media giants from suppressing conservative voices. But these also raise concerns about the government’s legal authority to direct the activities of private companies who have an interest in running their platforms as they see fit.

The law created by Florida’s SB 7072 has been on hold after a court-imposed injunction that the Eleventh Circuit Court later upheld.

An injunction similarly blocked Texas’ law until the Fifth Circuit Court lifted that injunction in October of 2022. The law requires social media companies to publicize how it manages users and content and how it decides which content or users should be “moderated” or, in plain terms, suppressed.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis defended the state’s law, citing the experience of immigrants from Cuba and Venezuela who experienced “tyrannical” government practices in their home countries. Part of the Florida law prevents social media companies from “de-platforming”  political candidates or “journalistic enterprise (s).” Governments at all levels have often tried to assert which media or press are “legitimate”, frequently labeling journalism that the government disagrees with as not actual or legitimate press activity protected by the Constitution.

Free speech advocacy group Net choice has been involved in both the Texas and Florida cases. The group said it was pleased with the Supreme Court’s request for the US to join the litigation. Net choice said it “expected” the Solicitor General to recognize the “first amendment rights of websites” and to rule in the group’s favor against both state laws. 

Though the Supreme Court’s invitation indicates interest, the Court has not yet decided whether it will take the two cases. 

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