Trump Judge Slaps Down Biden Admin’s Latest Attempt to Censor Americans

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

Chalk up another legal win for Americans thanks to a Trump-appointed judge. We’re getting a lot of legal wins lately thanks to the former pres.

On Monday, a federal judge rejected a Justice Department request to temporarily halt an order preventing senior Biden administration officials and multiple agencies from communicating with social media companies. The government had argued that the injunction was overly broad and might have the effect of stifling lawful actions.

In a 13-page decision rejecting the Justice Department’s request for a stay, former President Donald Trump’s federal appointee, U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty, reaffirmed that Missouri and Louisiana were sure to prevail on the main points of their action versus the Biden administration.

“Although this Preliminary Injunction involves numerous agencies, it is not as broad as it appears. It only prohibits something the Defendants have no legal right to do — contacting 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 posted on social-media platforms,” Doughty declared.

He asserted that Missouri and Louisiana “are likely to prove that all of the enjoined defendants coerced, significantly encouraged, and/or jointly participated [with] social-media companies to suppress social-media posts by American citizens that expressed opinions that were anti-COVID-19 vaccines, anti-COVID-19 lockdowns, posts that delegitimized or questioned the results of the 2020 election, and other content not subject to any exception to the First Amendment. These items are protected free speech and were seemingly censored because of the viewpoints they expressed.”

Following Doughty’s rejection, the Justice Department filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit asking it to stay the ruling of the lower court while it files an appeal. The petition is due on July 24.

“The district court issued a universal injunction with sweeping language that could be read to prohibit (among other things) virtually any government communication directed at social-media platforms regarding content moderation,” lawyers for the Department of Justice contended. “The court’s belief that the injunction forbids only unconstitutional conduct, while protecting the government’s lawful prerogatives, rested on a fundamentally erroneous conception of the First Amendment, and the court’s effort to tailor the injunction through a series of carveouts cured neither the injunction’s overbreadth nor its vagueness.”

As a component of a lawsuit filed in 2022 by the AGs of Louisiana and Missouri, Doughty announced the order on July 4 restricting interactions between the Biden administration and social media firms, which includes Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

The states and a number of other parties asserted that high government figures worked with the businesses to censor opinions and information on social media platforms, a breach of the First Amendment.

The preliminary injunction prohibits a number of high-ranking Biden administration representatives, including White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, from communicating with social media platforms in a variety of ways.

Multiple federal agencies and members of the administration are temporarily forbidden from collaborating with the companies in any way that would be “urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner for removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech.”

The decree, however, contains a number of exceptions and permits the administration to alert social media companies to postings containing criminal conduct, dangers to the general public and national security, illegal measures to stifle voting, or foreign attempts at swaying elections.

Although the Biden administration is contesting Doughty’s decision, they urged him to postpone the verdict while the case is in appeal. Attorneys for the Justice Department claimed the order is overly general and ambiguous on who it affects and what behavior it permits. The order imposed last week, they added, would “chill a wide range of lawful government conduct.”

Back in May, Republican primary candidate and business owner Vivek Ramaswamy, 37, announced that LinkedIn blocked his account after he posted political videos there in which he criticized Joe Biden’s relations with China and shared his opinions on climate policy.

“Big Tech election interference has begun: [LinkedIn] locked my account & censored me this week for posting videos where I expressed fact-based views as a presidential candidate about climate policy and Biden’s relationships with China. They said it violated their policies relating to ‘misinformation, hate speech, and violence.’ Sad but not surprising” the Republican candidate posted on Twitter, referring to screenshots of his emails with LinkedIn officials.

Mr. Ramaswamy added that the prohibition is consistent with the broader issue of Big Tech censorship. In his post, he said that “Two years ago, Big Tech censored people who argued that we shouldn’t close schools for Covid. Now they’re censoring presidential candidates for arguing that fossil fuels are required for prosperity. They didn’t censor me because it’s false. They censored me because it’s true.”

Additionally, he tweeted in response to Kyle Becker, CEO of Becker News, who pointed out that the New York Times had reported on LinkedIn’s agreement to censor posts for the Chinese government if they were produced by Chinese citizens.

Despite the fact that Mr. Ramaswamy is obviously not a Chinese citizen, there are worries that this state-sponsored censorship may extend beyond only posts made by citizens. But according to Mr. Ramaswamy, “It’s no mystery why LinkedIn censored me for criticizing China’s influence over Biden & climate change policies. This is staggering.”

Comments Mr. Ramaswamy made in a number of videos are the transgressions that LinkedIn claims are the cause for their decision to censor him. LinkedIn claims that one of his comments, “The [Chinese Communist Party] is playing the Biden administration like a Chinese mandolin. China has weaponized the ‘woke pandemic’ to stay one step ahead of us. And it’s working.” were sufficient to silence him.

Ramaswamy’s statement that “If the climate religion was really about climate change, then they’d be worried about, say, shifting oil production from the U.S. to places like Russia and China. Yet, the climate religion and its apostles in the [environmental, social and governance] movement have a different objective,” was also problematic for the platform.


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