Missouri AG leads 20 states in filing Supreme Court brief against censorship on social media platforms

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Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey led a 20-state coalition in filing a brief at the United States Supreme Court to combat censorship on social media platforms.  In the brief, the attorneys general support Texas and Florida laws barring social media companies from silencing speech on their platforms.

If the Supreme Court lets social media companies silence speech, it will set a devastating precedent at a time when free speech across the nation is under widespread attack,” said Attorney General Bailey.In a free society, the debate between opposing viewpoints should be played out in the marketplace of ideas. Our right to free speech is the bedrock of our great nation. I’m proud to be standing in the gap to protect our right to free speech on several fronts in the war for the soul of our country.

In the brief, Attorney General Bailey notes that it is already unlawful for a telephone company to stifle a phone call in which callers are discussing a viewpoint disfavored by the phone company. The same principle applies to social media companies.

“First, it is the constitutional duty of the States to protect their citizens’ inherent rights, including the right to free speech. Just as States pass criminal and civil laws to protect citizens from private abridgment of rights of life and property, States have a long history of regulating to protect citizens from abridgment of their free speech rights by dominant communication platforms. Second, the States have a vital interest in hearing the speech of their citizens, especially political speech. That is necessary for States to be democratically responsive. NetChoice’s position threatens these interests because it seeks to upend the longstanding authority of States to prohibit mass communication networks from engaging in censorship and viewpoint discrimination,” the attorneys general states in the brief.

Attorney General Bailey has been a national leader in the fight for free speech.

His office will be litigating the most significant free speech case in a generation, Missouri v. Biden, before the United States Supreme Court this term. In this case, Attorney General Bailey obtained three court orders from federal courts (one from the district court, and two from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals) blocking key officials in the federal government from violating the First Amendment rights of millions of Americans by coercing social media companies to censor speech online.

He also submitted a brief in NRA v. Vullo, the National Rifle Association’s case against a New York state official who trampled on the organization’s First Amendment right to free speech. In the brief, General Bailey asks the United States Supreme Court to reverse a federal court of appeals ruling giving officials license to stifle their political opponents’ protected speech by financially crippling them. The case will be before the Supreme Court this term. Attorney General Bailey’s brief can be read here.

He also submitted a brief opposing the unconstitutional gag order on President Trump, for violation of his right to speak and of Americans’ right to hear from a presidential candidate. The brief can be viewed here.

The brief filed today in Moody v. NetChoice and NetChoice v. Paxton can be read here.

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