Supremes use technicality to give Biden a pass on COVID censorship

By Bob Unruh

President Joe Biden walks past draped America flags along the Colonnade of the White House, Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, en route to sign the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. (Official White House photo by Adam Schultz)

The U.S. Supreme Court, through a cross-party coalition of leftists and conservatives, has ruled in favor of Joe Biden’s scheme to coerce social media companies to censor COVID statements during the pandemic, using a technicality.

The majority ruling said the plaintiffs, two states and several individuals, didn’t have “standing” even to bring the complaint.

The justice claimed that none of the plaintiffs was in a position to be injured by the censorship scheme, although it’s known that such speech limits vastly restricted truthful information about COVID and the experimental shots that now are known to include side effects up to and including death.

Meanwhile, Congress has launched an investigation into the actions of the Biden administration.

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This after the district judge described Biden’s agenda as Orwellian, and confirmed the ruling will impact much of American life.

The trial judge ordered Biden’s bureaucrats to stop communicating with social media corporations to give instructions on what statements and comments are to be allowed. An appeals court suspended part of that. The censorship also included banning facts about the Biden family scandals found in Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop.

As a result, House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, has ordered Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta and Microsoft as well as Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI chief Chris Wray to provide Congress with information about the censorship plans and action.

Jordan explained his committee “is conducting oversight of how and to what extent the executive branch has coerced or colluded with companies and other intermediaries to censor lawful speech. In February 2023, the committee issued subpoenas for documents related to Big Tech’s communications with the executive branch, including the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF) and San Francisco field office.”

It originally was U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty who blasted the government for its program to blacklist, shadow-ban, de-boost, throttle and suspend social media activity by those who disagreed with the Biden administration’s chosen, and sometimes faulty, opinions on COVID.

The case is Murthy v. Missouri and in it, state attorneys general from Missouri and Louisiana accused high-ranking government officials of working with giant social media companies “under the guise of combating misinformation” that ultimately led to censoring speech on topics that included Hunter Biden’s laptop, COVID-19 origins and the efficacy of face masks.

The majority opinion is from Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

In her tacit endorsement of Biden’s censorship campaign, she said, “We begin – and end – with standing. At this stage, neither the individual nor the state plaintiffs have established standing to seek an injunction against any defendant.”

Her explanation: The plaintiffs “claim that the restrictions they have experienced in the past on various platforms are traceable to the defendants and that the platforms will continue to censor their speech at the behest of the defendants. So we first consider whether the plaintiffs have demonstrated traceability for their past injuries. Here, a note of caution: If the plaintiffs were seeking compensatory relief, the traceability of their past injuries would be the whole ball game. But because the plaintiffs are seeking only forward-looking relief, the past injuries are relevant only for their predictive value. If a plaintiff demonstrates that a particular government defendant was behind her past social-media restriction, it will be easier for her to prove that she faces a continued risk of future restriction that is likely to be traceable to that same defendant. Conversely, if a plaintiff cannot trace her past injury to one of the defendants, it will be much harder for her to make that showing. In the latter situation, the plaintiff would essentially have to build her case from scratch, showing why she has some newfound reason to fear that one of the named defendants will coerce her chosen platform to restrict future speech on a topic about which she plans to post—in this case, either COVID–19 or the upcoming election. Keep in mind, therefore, that the past is relevant only insofar as it is a launching pad for a showing of imminent future injury. The primary weakness in the record of past restrictions is the lack of specific causation findings with respect to any discrete instance of content moderation. The District Court made none. Nor did the Fifth Circuit…”

The lower courts did determine, “The platforms … ‘have engaged in censorship of certain viewpoints on key issues,’ while ‘the government has engaged in a years-long pressure campaign’ to ensure that the platforms suppress those viewpoints. The platforms’ ‘censorship decisions’—including those affecting the plaintiffs—were thus ‘likely attributable at least in part to the platforms’ reluctance to risk’ the consequences of refusing to ‘adhere to the government’s directives.'”

But she wrote that wasn’t’ enough.

The vote was 6-3, with Justice Samuel Alito dissenting joined by Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the chief of the House Judiciary Committee, said, “The First Amendment is first for a reason, and the freedom of expression should be protected from any infringement by the government. Our country benefits when ideas can be tested and debated fairly on their merits, whether online or in the halls of Congress. The Committee and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government have uncovered how and the extent to which the Biden Administration engaged in a censorship campaign in violation of the First Amendment. While we respectfully disagree with the Court’s decision, our investigation has shown the need for legislative reforms, such as the Censorship Accountability Act, to better protect Americans harmed by the unconstitutional censorship-industrial complex. Our important work will continue.”

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