The Missouri vs. Biden court case continues to affirm that the Biden administration owes its “success” and likely its existence, to a concerted destruction of Constitutionally protected free speech opposition.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals said on Friday that many Biden administration officials likely violated the First Amendment by putting pressure on social media businesses to censor or remove information they found objectionable.
But, in addressing an immediate issue of the extent of contacts the administration could continue to have with social media companies, the appeals court also reduced the scope of a Louisiana judge’s contact prohibitions.
The court did emphasize in their ruling that Biden officials be required to refrain from engaging in “viewpoint suppression”:
“It is true that the officials have an interest in engaging with social media companies, including on issues such as misinformation and election interference. But the government is not permitted to advance these interests to the extent that it engages in viewpoint suppression.”
The three-judge appeals panel released their 74-page ruling on 8 September.
The ruling noted that officials had engaged in both explicit and implicit threats of regulatory and other governmental action, in order to coerce companies into doing their censorship bidding.
That’s important, because the Court affirmed that the Federal government was a prime mover in many cases of media censorship which took place from the election season of 2020, right through the COVID War period, and into the current Russia Ukraine conflict and upcoming 2024 election cycle.
The appeals panel cited the White House, Surgeon General, CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and FBI, as all involved in the illegal censorship.
The Federal government is expressly barred by the First and Fourth Amendments from interfering in the political and free speech rights of Americans.
The appeals court affirmed multiple details and the general scale of abuse uncovered by state attorney generals and litigated in federal court since mid-2022:
“[The FBI] regularly met with the platforms, shared ‘strategic information,’ frequently alerted the social media companies to misinformation spreading on their platforms, and monitored their content moderation policies.
“But, the FBI went beyond that—they urged the platforms to take down content. Turning to the Second Circuit’s four-factor test, we find that those requests were coercive.”
What legal ramifications will come from the widespread and wholesale violations uncovered by the Missouri vs Biden court case, as well as the Twitter and Facebook files?
To some extent, it remains to be seen whether Congress will pick the ball up from the courts, and use the damaging revelations and confirmations to hold specific administration officials accountable.
But the appeals court did issue its own clear directives circumscribing officials. For example, it barred officials from threatening “legal, regulatory, or economic consequences” if companies refused to comply with a government request, regarding speech on their platforms.
TRENDPOST: The Trends Journal predicted early on the Missouri vs. Biden court case could have significant ramifications, and rulings by the presiding judge in the case, Terry Doughty, now substantially upheld by the 5th Circuit, confirm those predictions.
Specifically, Twitter, now under the ownership of Elon Musk, will have much stronger legal recourse to resist attempts by the Federal government and Biden officials to manipulate or censor free speech during the 2024 election cycle.
That’s heartening news.
It still does little, however, to hold officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci, Anthony Blinken (who as a team Biden member, was instrumental in censoring the Hunter Biden laptop story just before the 2020 election), and others accountable for their crimes against the Constitution and the American people.
Courts can only do so much.
Unfortunately, mainstream media, which still has the power to shape opinion and either beat drums of urgency, or bury what should be highly consequential stories, has deprived the Missouri vs. Biden court case of coverage “oxygen.”
Indeed, they have been the cheerleaders for censorship, as they have seen social media companies at least partially eat into their coveted “gatekeeping” role on what makes and constitutes news.
But no amount of silence or ignoring can wash away court determinations that the Biden Administration has proven to be a lawbreaking regime.
Reform of the “War on Terror” laws that fueled the monstrous abuses (often carried out in the name of combating “foreign disinformation”) should be a major election issue.
Democrat Party challenger Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and Republican former President Donald Trump have both been victims of manipulation and censorship.
They should lead the way in using this latest court ruling to wage war against the “War On Terror” laws, as well as 1970s-era court rulings that have eroded higher Constitutional protections.
Indeed, Kennedy reacted to the 5th circuit findings with a 9 September series of tweets, though he disingenuously lumped the Trump administration into the equation:
“Huge victory for free speech! An appellate court just ruled that Biden admin violated First Amendment by coercing platforms to censor. And BTW Trump admin did it too.”
Fair-minded observers recognize that the highly partisan Federal government apparatus under Donald Trump was largely devoted to undermining and opposing his agenda, and that Trump himself was primarily a victim of censorship during his Presidency.
And in fact, Trump was not mentioned in the 5th Circuit ruling, while Joe Biden and various agencies under him were mentioned dozens of times.
Kennedy went on to say:
“As President, I will make sure the Executive Branch respects the Constitution. Period.
“But it is going to take more than a pro-Constitution President to end censorship. Censorship has become ingrained in the corporate culture of major social media platforms.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr
“They know what ‘the narrative’ is without being told. They know that they will be rewarded if they enforce it. That is why we need to exert public pressure against censorship. #Kennedy24”
For related reading, check out our many stories surrounding the Missouri vs. Biden court case, including our assessments in “BIDEN PUSHES FOR MORE CENSORSHIP” (20 Sep 2022) and “FIRST AMENDMENT SHOWDOWN: MISSOURI VS BIDEN” (13 Oct 2022).