The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it will hear arguments in a landmark case in which lower courts have ruled that the Biden administration likely violated the First Amendment by pressuring social media companies to remove content deemed false or misleading by the White House.
Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-MO) and Louisiana Attorney General and Governor-elect Jeff Landry (R-LA) filed the lawsuit.
“The United States Supreme Court has granted cert in Missouri v. Biden – the nation’s highest court will hear the most important free speech case in American history,” Schmitt tweeted.
“I’m proud to have filed this case when I was AG, and will always defend free speech,” he added.
“This grants us an opportunity to affirm once and for all that the government is not permitted to use the government-speech doctrine to muffle the expression of disfavored viewpoints. We look forward to making our arguments soon,” Landry posted on X, quoting Louisiana Solicitor General Liz Murrill.
In July, former President Donald Trump’s appointee, US District Judge Terry Doughty, prohibited a number of executive branch officials from contacting social media companies due to collusion and censorship concerns.
The Supreme Court has stayed Doughty’s decision in Missouri v. Biden pending its own decision in the case.
Friday, Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Clarence Thomas favored denying the Biden administration’s emergency appeal and upholding the lower court’s order.
“This case concerns what two lower courts found to be a ‘coordinated campaign’ by high-level federal officials to suppress the expression of disfavored views on important public issues,” Alito wrote in his dissent opposing the stay.
The New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Doughty’s ruling in September, though it limited the scope of the district judge’s preliminary injunction. A three-judge panel concluded that the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and FBI “likely coerced or significantly encouraged social-media platforms to moderate content” and thus likely suppressed free speech.
The appeals court removed officials from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the State Department from the injunction.