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Supreme Court rejects challenge to Biden admin contacts with social media companies

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a First Amendment challenge from a group of social media users and two states  to the Biden administration’s communication with social media companies in an effort to remove misinformation on the platforms about COVID-19 and the 2020 election.

The Supreme Court, in a 6-3 ruling issued Wednesday, said the individual and state plaintiffs in the case did not have standing to seek a preliminary injunction against federal executive-branch officials and agencies over their official communications with social-media companies about the spread of misinformation online. The court determined that the users and the states, Louisiana and Missouri, did not have the legal right to seek an injunction against the Biden administration over its contacts with the platforms. The users had argued that their speech was unconstitutionally stifled when their social media posts were removed or suppressed after prodding by administration officials.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote in the opinion for the majority: “The plaintiffs fail, by and large, to link their past social-media restrictions and the defendants’ communications with the platforms .. The plaintiffs, without any concrete link between their injuries and the defendants’ conduct, ask us to conduct a review of the yearslong communications between dozens of federal officials, across different agencies, with different social-media platforms, about different topics. This court’s standing doctrine prevents us from exercising such general legal oversight of the other branches of government.”

Per ABC News, the ruling means executive branch agencies involved in the case — the White House, Surgeon General, CDC, FBI and CISA, among others — can continue to interact with social media companies over moderation of content on their platforms.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement: “The Supreme Court’s decision is the right one, and it helps ensure the Biden Administration can continue our important work with technology companies to protect the safety and security of the American people, after years of extreme and unfounded Republican attacks on public officials who engaged in critical work to keep Americans safe.”

Editorial credit: Orhan Cam /