A federal judge in Louisiana made a significant ruling on July 4th, 2023, declaring that the Biden administration likely violated the First Amendment through social media censorship. The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Terry Doughty, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, orders numerous federal officials and agencies, including Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, from engaging in any contact with social media companies for the purpose of censoring or removing First Amendment-protected speech.
According to Doughty’s 155-page opinion, the Biden administration assumed a role similar to an Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth’ in censoring speech on issues ranging from opposition to Covid vaccines and masking mandates, to opposition to the validity of the 2020 election, to statements claiming the story surrounding Hunter Biden’s laptop was true.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry celebrated the ruling, calling it a “historic injunction” against the Biden administration that prevents it “from censoring the core political speech of ordinary Americans on social media.” In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Landry stated: “The evidence in our case is shocking and offensive.”
The Justice Department, however, maintained its stance in the case claiming that federal officials engaging with social media companies were simply encouraging them to police their platforms and that the officials’ speech in doing so was protected by the First Amendment. Former White House press secretary Jen Psaki disagreed with the case itself, and in January, the 5th Circuit blocked efforts to force Psaki to testify in the case.
Folks, we all saw the Twitter files, it was way more than “encouraging.”
While the ruling appears to take effect immediately, it is not a final decision on the suit and can be appealed by the Biden administration to the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. It remains to be seen how the Justice Department and Biden administration will respond to the ruling and follow through with Doughty’s order.