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Samuel Alito: Censorship Unconstitutional

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito
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By: Katelynn Richardson – dailycaller.com – June 26, 2024

Justice Samuel Alito slammed the majority for “shirk[ing]” its duty to restrain the goverment’s coersive censorship efforts.

Justice Samuel Alito excoriated the Supreme Court majority for “shirk[ing]” its duty to restrain the government’s coercive censorship efforts in “one of the most important free speech cases” to reach the high court in years.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday sided 6-3 with the Biden administration in Murthy v. Missouri, finding that two states and five individual plaintiffs lacked standing to seek an injunction against the government’s wide-ranging efforts to suppress speech online. The case concerned the federal government requesting social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter remove certain content related to COVID-19 and other hot-button issues; many of the posts that were censored were factual, and critics argued the Biden administration attempted to censor conservative viewpoints

In his dissent, Alito, who was joined by Justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas, argued that the majority’s decision “permits the successful campaign of coercion in this case to stand as an attractive model for future officials who want to control what the people say, hear, and think.”

“Their communications with Facebook were virtual demands,” he wrote, pointing to the White House’s many requests to remove “misinformation” related to COVID-19. “And Facebook’s quavering responses to those demands show that it felt a strong need to yield.”

The majority determined that plaintiffs failed “to link their past social-media restrictions to the [government’s] communications with the platforms” explaining that “the platforms had independent incentives to moderate content and often exercised their own judgment.”

Merely noting that Facebook declined to take some of the government’s suggestions is “bad logic” contradicted by the record, Alito wrote, pointing to internal Facebook emails that “paint a clear picture of subservience.”

“Facebook’s responses resembled that of a subservient entity determined to stay in the good graces of a powerful taskmaster,” Alito wrote. “When criticized, Facebook representatives whimpered that they ‘thought we were doing a better job’ but promised to do more going forward…And when denounced as ‘killing people,’ Facebook responded by expressing a desire to ‘work together collaboratively’ with its accuser.”

Taking the facts relating to just one plaintiff, co-director of Health Freedom Louisiana Jill Hines, Alito presented the case for upholding the lower court’s injunction against the government.

“Hines showed that, when she sued, Facebook was censoring her COVID-related posts and groups,” Alito wrote. “And because the White House prompted Facebook to amend its censorship policies, Hines’s censorship was, at least in part, caused by the White House and could be redressed by an injunction against the continuation of that conduct.”

Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote the majority opinion in the case.

In May, the Supreme Court unanimously sided with the National Rifle Association (NRA) in its challenge to a New York official who pressured banks and insurance companies not to do business with the organization, finding government officials cannot “use the power of the State to punish or suppress disfavored expression.”

Alito wrote that the conduct of government officials in Murthy v. Missouri was “more subtle than the ham-handed censorship found to be unconstitutional in [the NRA case], but it was no less coercive.”

“It was blatantly unconstitutional, and the country may come to regret the Court’s failure to say so,” he wrote.

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Source: ‘Blatantly Unconstitutional’: Justice Alito Writes Blistering Dissent In Biden Admin Censorship Case | The Daily Caller