NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (LifeSiteNews) — President Joe Biden’s administration can continue working with Big Tech to pressure them to censor speech while a federal case proceeds, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled recently.
The three-judge panel granted the Biden administration’s request for an administrative stay against an injunction that barred it from colluding with Big Tech companies.
The July 14 ruling also expedited the hearing of the case.
The federal lawsuit, brought by Missouri and Louisiana and right-leaning groups, challenges the Biden administration’s pressure campaign to get Big Tech to censor conservative speech. Plaintiffs include Children’s Health Defense and Jim Hoft, who runs the popular Gateway Pundit website.
The ruling reversed two recent decisions by District Judge Terry A. Doughty that ordered federal officials to cease their pressure campaign. He granted exceptions including “to inform social-media companies of postings involving criminal activity, criminal conspiracies, national security threats,” as well as “extortion, other threats, criminal efforts to suppress voting, providing illegal campaign contributions” and “cyber-attacks against election infrastructure.”
Social media platforms had censored groups that raised questions about the integrity of the 2020 election, reported on Hunter Biden’s laptop, and questioned the establishment narrative on COVID-19, including on vaccines.
In one instance, a Biden staffer was able to quickly get Instagram to remove an account that parodied Dr. Anthony Fauci.
The lawsuit is part of an ongoing battle to expose and prevent federal officials from using their authority to suppress conservative speech. The lawsuit has already provided evidence that the relationship between government officials and social media companies is close.
As previously reported by LifeSiteNews, the first batch of emails released as part of the lawsuit found that Biden officials and Big Tech regularly met to discuss areas of censorship. One email from a Facebook employee to two Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) staffers asked about setting up a monthly “misinfo/debunking” meeting “in addition to our weekly meetings.”
Doughty, in one of his rulings, wrote that if the allegations proved to be true, it would represent the “most massive attack against free speech in United States history.”
“If the allegations made by Plaintiffs are true, the present case arguably involves the most massive attack against free speech in United States history,” Judge Doughty wrote. “In their attempts to suppress alleged disinformation, the Federal Government, and particularly the Defendants named here, are alleged to have blatantly ignored the First Amendment’s right to free speech.”