(The Center Square) – A court order limiting how the Biden administration interacts with social media companies is being appealed to the 5th U.S. District Court of Appeals.
On July 4, U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty ordered nine U.S. government agencies, including the FBI, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the White House, from specific communication actions with social media companies. The order was the result of evidence and testimony in Missouri v. Biden, a lawsuit filed by Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt before he was elected to the U.S. Senate.
On Monday, Doughty denied the Biden administration’s motion to stop the injunction he put in place.
“This is a big victory and continues to ensure the Biden Administration can’t censor speech online,” Schmitt posted on social media.
In his 13-page memorandum denying the administration’s motion, Judge Doughty, appointed by former President Donald Trump, said Schmitt and now Bailey “have shown a likelihood of success on the merits” of the case.
“As discussed in detail in the Memorandum Ruling, all of the Defendants likely ‘significantly encouraged’ and/or ‘jointly participated’ with the social media companies to engage in viewpoint-based suppression of protected speech,” Doughty wrote referencing his 155-page memorandum. “Additionally, the White House Defendants and the Surgeon General Defendants were found to have likely engaged in coercion of social media companies.”
Doughty also disagreed with the Biden administration’s argument it would be “irreparably injured” by the injunction.
“… the First Amendment free speech rights of Plaintiffs by far outweighs the Defendant’s interests,” Doughty wrote.
Doughty also stated the preliminary injunction only prohibits what the administration has “no right to do – urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech on social-media platforms.”