Biden DOJ to fight court order that blocked feds from colluding with Big Tech to censor speech

The Justice Department will argue in court Thursday for lifting an order banning the government from coordinating with social media companies to censor Americans.  In the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the DOJ will ask the court to block a July 4 order issued by federal Judge Terry A. Doughty which prevents White House officials and federal agencies from meeting with tech companies about social media censorship, arguing such actions likely violated the First Amendment. Doughty’s order came down on July 4 in a legal battle brought by Republican state attorneys general from Missouri and Louisiana that accused high-ranking government officials of working with giant social media companies “under the guise of combating misinformation” that ultimately led to censoring speech on topics, including Hunter Biden’s laptop, COVID-19 origins and the efficacy of face masks.  The scathing Independence Day injunction – which the Biden administration is now fighting to repeal – said the government’s actions during the pandemic were akin to “an Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth.'”  JUDGE PRAISED FOR ‘STUNNING’ JULY 4 REBUKE OF BIDEN ADMIN ON BIG TECH CENSORSHIP: ‘FINALLY’ “If the allegations made by Plaintiffs are true, the present case arguably involves the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history,” the injunction added. “In their attempts to suppress alleged disinformation, the Federal Government, and particularly the Defendants named here, are alleged to have blatantly ignored the First Amendment’s right to free speech.” Doughty concluded that the Biden administration “likely violate[d]the Free Speech Clause” and that the court “is not persuaded by Defendants’ arguments,” dealing a significant blow to the White House.  BIDEN ADMIN APPEALS JUDGE’S ORDER LIMITING ITS CONTACT WITH SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES The injunction also claims that “the censorship alleged in this case almost exclusively targeted conservative speech,” but that issues the case raises are “beyond party lines.” “Viewpoint discrimination is an especially egregious form of content discrimination,” Doughty argued. “The government must abstain from regulating speech when the specific motivating ideology or the perspective of the speaker is the rationale for the restriction.” FBI MET WEEKLY WITH BIG TECH AHEAD OF THE 2020 ELECTION, AGENT TESTIFIES The DOJ immediately appealed the injunction, arguing that the government faced “irreparable harm” because Doughty’s order may prevent the federal government from “working with social media companies on initiatives to prevent grave harm to the American people and our democratic processes.”  Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey said the injunction was a “huge win in the fight to safeguard our most fundamental freedoms,” and he intends to defend it in court on Thursday. “Joe Biden’s Department of Justice actually had the audacity to argue that the nation would suffer ‘irreparable harm’ if they weren’t allowed to continue violating Americans’ First Amendment right,” Baily told Fox News Digital.  “Make no mistake – without this injunction, there is nothing stopping Joe Biden from continuing to censor political speech. The federal government cannot be trusted to protect Americans’ rights, which is precisely why our Founders enshrined the First Amendment into the Constitution,” he said. Legal group New Civil Liberties Alliance, who also have plaintiffs in the lawsuit who allege were censored by Big Tech with the government’s help, told Fox News Digital that they are “confident” the Fifth Circuit will agree with the District Court’s findings that “the evidence shows significant First Amendment violations.” “The relentless and significant pressure the White House, the Surgeon General, the FBI, and other government actors placed on social-media companies to eliminate and reduce the speech of American citizens went far beyond permissible position statements and suggestions,” said Zhonette Brown, senior litigation counsel for the group.  The White House did not respond to a request for comment by time of publication. The Justice Department declined to comment and referred to its briefs filed in the case. Both parties will argue before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals at 2:00 p.m. Thursday.
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