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Trump Appointed Federal Judge Crushes Biden Admin In Decision On Independence Day

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


A federal judge smacked down President Joe Biden’s administration on the nation’s most precious holiday.

And he did not simply rule against the Biden administration, he laid a smackdown, The New York Times reported.

On Independence Day, Judge Terry A. Doughty of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana massively limited how and when the federal government is allowed to communicate with social media companies.

The judge said that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Health and Human Services are not allowed to talk to social media companies for “the purpose of urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech.”

He said that the government could not flag posts for review by social media companies but did say they could communicate for matters of national security threats or foreign attempts to influence elections.

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“During the COVID-19 pandemic, a period perhaps best characterized by widespread doubt and uncertainty, the United States Government seems to have assumed a role similar to an Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth,’” the judge said.

“If the allegations made by plaintiffs are true, the present case arguably involves the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history,” he said. “The plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits in establishing that the government has used its power to silence the opposition.”

The judge, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, said that the topics that were “suppressed” were conservative views, which “is quite telling.”

“This targeted suppression of conservative ideas is a perfect example of viewpoint discrimination of political speech,” he said. “American citizens have the right to engage in free debate about the significant issues affecting the country … the evidence produced thus far depicts an almost dystopian scenario.”

The state of Louisiana was the plaintiff in the case and its attorney general, Jeff Landry, celebrated the decision on Twitter.

“Federal judge blocks key Biden officials from pressuring or conspiring with social media companies to suppress any content containing protected free speech on their platforms,” he said.

“Today’s historic ruling is a big step forward in the continued fight to prohibit our government from unconstitutional censorship!” he said.

The New York Times reported.

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The judge’s order bars government agencies from communicating with some of those outside groups, including the Election Integrity Partnership, the Virality Project and the Stanford Internet Observatory, in order to induce the removal of protected speech online. Alex Stamos, the director of the Stanford Internet Observatory, which was involved in leading the two other projects, declined to comment.

Since acquiring Twitter last year, Elon Musk has echoed Republican arguments, releasing internal company documents to chosen journalists suggesting what they claimed was collusion between company and government officials. Though that remains far from proven, some of the documents Mr. Musk disclosed ended up in the lawsuit’s arguments.

The defendants, the social media companies and experts who study disinformation have argued that there is no evidence of a systematic effort by the government to censor individuals in violation of the First Amendment. David Rand, an expert on misinformation at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said his understanding was that the government had at most a limited impact on how social media platforms engaged with misinformation.

The White House announced that  the Justice Department was reviewing the judge’s decision and evaluating what to do next.

“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,” it said.

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