The Supreme Court has temporarily banned Texas’ social media control law

In an extraordinary alignment, Chief Justice John Roberts, Stephen Fryer, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Connie Barrett and Sonia Sotomayor were the five judges in the majority.

Liberal Justice Elena Kagan joined conservative judges Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil Korsch, who would have denied the request.

Loss to Supreme Court order Texas. The government argued that HB 20, its law prohibiting large social media companies from blocking, banning or downgrading their posts or accounts, did not violate the First Amendment.

The majority did not explain its thinking and Kagan did not express his own reason for allowing the law to be upheld.

But Alito, who wrote for himself, Thomas and Korsch, criticized the decision of the majority. He said the case raises “very important” questions about Texas law, which “breaks leadership” and “represents the power of dominant social media organizations to shape public debate about key issues of the day.” He did not form a “firm view” of the novel’s legal questions arising from the law, but insisted that he would not have come forward to block the law “at this stage of the proceedings.”

“Texas does not need prior approval from the federal courts before its laws can take effect,” Alito wrote.

Opponents of HB 20, including the Department of Technology, have argued that the law violates the constitutional rights of technology platforms to make editorial decisions and to avoid government scrutiny.

The government argued that HB 20 did not violate the First Amendment because the law seeks to regulate the behavior of technology sites to their users, not corporate talk, and sought to appoint them as “common carriers” similar to railroads and telephone companies. .

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The broader case is seen as an hour to the social media industry, and technology sites can decide whether to re-measure their content rating more than Texas and allow the wider content that their terms currently prohibit.

The Computer and Communication Industry Association, one of the groups behind the urgent petition, said the decision upheld the government’s more than 200-year-old policy of freedom of speech against personal speech infringement.

“We appreciate the Supreme Court’s assurance that the protections of the First Amendment, including the right to free speech, will be upheld during the legal challenge to Texas’ social media law,” said CCIA President Matt Schruers. “The Supreme Court, which cites the constitutional risks of this law, is important not only for online companies and freedom of speech, but also for key policy for democracies.”

Chris Marces, NetChoice’s adviser – another group behind the emergency petition – called Texas law a “constitutional train wreck.”

“We are relieved that the First Amendment protects the Internet and users who rely on it from violating the Constitution of Texas,” Marchis said.

CNN approached Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and commented.

In a separate dispute, another federal appellate court suspended similar legislation outside of Florida, which created a roundabout split on the issue. Often, the Supreme Court is more likely to be embroiled in a dispute if the lower courts are in direct conflict.

Texas law is being challenged by a panel of lawyers representing the technology industry.

In court documents, the groups called the law an “unprecedented attack on the editorial intent of private websites.” “They warn that Russia’s propaganda that Russia’s occupation of Ukraine is justified, that the ISIS campaign, which claims that terrorism is a guarantee, will force sites to spread all sorts of objectionable views, such as neo-Nazi or KKK troops rejecting or supporting the Holocaust. . ”

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In response, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton argued that HB 20 did not infringe on the speech rights of technology sites.

The lawsuit was probably funded by a number of parties, including the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP. Graphic, malicious, hateful and fraudulent content is of no use to people currently involved in those communities. “

A group of states led by Florida also filed a lawsuit against Texas law. The Friend-of-the-Court summary, written by a dozen states including Alabama, Arizona, Kentucky and South Carolina, reflects how the legal battle over HB 20 has undergone nationwide changes.

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