Headline RoundupSeptember 9th, 2023

Appeals Court Rules Biden Admin Violated First Amendment, Narrows Prior Ruling From Lower Court

Summary from AllSides News Team

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that the Biden administration violated the First Amendment in its attempts to pressure social media platforms to take down controversial content, particularly about COVID-19 and election fraud.

The Details: The court, made up of two George W. Bush nominees, and one Trump nominee, ruled Biden, the CDC, the FBI, and the surgeon general cannot “coerce” social media companies to remove content it deems problematic. The ruling is a narrowing in scope of a ruling made by a lower-court federal judge in July that included other agencies like the Department of Homeland Security and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in the prohibition.

Key Quotes: Speaking of the narrowing, the 5th Circuit said the July ruling was "overbroad" because it prohibited the administration from "engaging in legal conduct." It added, "Nine of the preliminary injunction’s ten prohibitions risk doing just that. Moreover, many of the provisions are duplicative of each other and thus unnecessary." A White House official said, “Our consistent view remains that social media platforms have a critical responsibility to take account of the effects their platforms are having on the American people, but make independent choices about the information they present.”

How The Media Covered It: The Washington Post (Lean Left bias) said the “decision was likely to be seen as victory for conservatives,” but highlighted a perspective from a former CISA chief that said the ruling “eviscerated” the lower court’s decision.


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