SPEAKING OUT: Sen. Hawley Calls on SCOTUS to Shut Down Big Tech Censorship

January 24th, 2024 1:16 PM

A Republican senator called on the Supreme Court to finally address the rampant censorship targeting Americans’ speech on Big Tech platforms.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) on Tuesday filed a brief to the Court supporting Texas and Florida’s laws blocking social media platforms from censoring content based on discrimination against political views. Both state laws on the matter triggered separate lawsuits, ultimately reaching the nation’s high court. “The Supreme Court should rein them in - and the government should break them up,” Hawley emphasized on Twitter, referring to censorship-obsessed Big Tech platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Google, TikTok and others.

Hawley’s brief called on the justices to dunk on Big Tech’s counterclaims that the Texas and Florida laws, enacted in 2021, violate their supposed First Amendment rights, as first reported by Fox News. Absurdly enough, Big Tech platforms made such claims while choking Americans’ freedom of speech. 

“The Court should not bless the platforms’ contradictory positions, much less constitutionalize them,” Hawley said in the brief. “Doing so would effectively immunize the platforms from both civil liability in tort and regulatory oversight by legislators.”

Hawley focused on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the contentious 1996 law shielding social media platforms from liability for user-generated content. "At the time, Section 230 was justified on the theory that platforms could not exercise publisher-level control over the speech generated by third-party users," Hawley stated in the brief.

"’Despite decades arguing for this position, today the tech platforms take precisely the opposite line. They claim that their content hosting and curation decisions are in fact expressive — expressive enough that they enjoy First Amendment protection,’" Hawley’s brief continued.

The legal battle unfolded in 2021 when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law prohibiting Big Tech companies from censoring content based on political viewpoints. The Texas Tribune reported that the law was set to take effect in 2022, but NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association sued, alleging a violation of Big Tech's First Amendment rights. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals would later rule in favor of Texas.

In a similar move, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law allowing Floridians to seek damages against Big Tech companies censoring their free speech. The law imposed daily fines of up to $250,000 on Big Tech platforms for censoring political candidates. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in direct contrast to the Fifth Circuit Court’s ruling in the Texas case, ruled in favor of social media companies, leading to a "circuit split" on the issue of online censorship, as reported by Fox News.

The nation's high court is set to hear arguments on the lawsuits, known as NetChoice, LLC v. Paxton and Moody v. NetChoice, LLC, on Feb. 26.

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 using CensorTrack’s contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.