Justice Samuel Alito Lambasts SCOTUS Decision to Block Big Tech-Gov’t Censorship Injunction

October 23rd, 2023 11:25 AM

The Supreme Court decided to intervene in the landmark Missouri v. Biden (2022) case zeroing in on the threats Big Tech-Government censorship collusion poses to free speech, but it temporarily chose to side with the government. 

The Court outrageously blocked a preliminary Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals injunction Friday that temporarily prevented federal agencies from exerting pressure on social media companies to censor constitutionally protected speech. Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas, all sharply dissented the Court’s majority decision to stay the injunction. “At this time in the history of our country, what the Court has done, I fear, will be seen by some as giving the Government a green light to use heavy-handed tactics to skew the presentation of views on the medium that increasingly dominates the dissemination of news,” Justice Alito wrote in his dissent. “That is most unfortunate.”

Alito rebuked the majority for effectively allowing “the defendants to persist in committing the type of First Amendment violations that the lower courts identified” despite the Biden administration’s “conspicuous failure to establish a threat of irreparable harm.” The injunction will now be suspended until the Court officially issues a judgment on the case. 

The New Civil Liberties Alliance, the firm representing the plaintiffs, released statements expressing disappointment at the Court’s decision to stay the injunction but expressed confidence that their case will ultimately prevail.

“We are disappointed Americans’ First Amendment rights will be vulnerable to government infringement until this case is decided,” said John Vecchione, Senior Litigation Counsel at NCLA. “But we are confident this Court, as strong as it is on First Amendment issues, will rule against the government and uphold our clients’ rights and liberties.”

Another attorney added that the legal team is “thrilled” to fight for the First Amendment at the Supreme Court.

“NCLA is thrilled to have the opportunity to vindicate the First Amendment rights of our clients, and all Americans, in the nation’s highest court,” added Jenin Younes, Litigation Counsel at NCLA. “We are confident that after a thorough review of the disturbing facts in this important case—which involves unprecedented government-imposed, viewpoint-based censorship—the Court will recognize the grievous, unconstitutional nature of the government’s conduct and enjoin it.”

The Court’s involvement comes months after U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty of Louisiana issued his own injunction against a number of entities within Biden’s administration from coordinating with Big Tech to censor speech. On appeal, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals narrowed the scope of the injunction but acknowledged that the government coercion violated the First Amendment. The initial lawsuit brought by the Missouri and Louisiana attorneys general cited original MRC Free Speech America research of its unique CensorTrack.org database showcasing the extent to which Big Tech companies sought to silence Biden’s critics. 

MRC has long reported on the case, including Judge Doughty’s description of the Biden administration’s conduct as “arguably the most massive attack against free speech in United States history,” likening it to “an Orwellian Ministry of Truth.”

MRC Free Speech America Associate Editor Joseph Vazquez contributed to this report.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.