Justice Alito Grants Temporary Pause on Appeals Court Censorship Ruling

By Published on September 15, 2023

Justice Samuel Alito ordered a temporary pause on an appeals court ruling blocking the Biden administration from encouraging social media companies to censor content Thursday.

The injunction will only be paused until 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 22, according to the order. The Biden administration asked the Supreme Court to freeze the injunction earlier Thursday pending its petition for a writ of certiorari.

Alito ordered responses to the government’s application to be filed by Sept. 20.

Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar wrote Thursday that the injunction “flouts bedrock principles of Article III, the First Amendment, and equity.”

The Fifth Circuit ruled Friday that the White House, Surgeon General, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FBI violated the First Amendment, modifying the lower court’s injunction to restrict the administration from taking actions to “coerce or significantly encourage social-media companies” from censoring speech.

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“Ultimately, we find the district court did not err in determining that several officials — namely the White House, the Surgeon General, the CDC, and the FBI — likely coerced or significantly encouraged social-media, platforms to moderate content, rendering those decisions state actions,” the court ruled. “In doing so, the officials likely violated the First Amendment.”


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