U.S. District Judge Terry A. Doughty has shot down multiple attempts by government agencies to censor information shared on social media. In a case brought by the state of Missouri, Louisiana, and multiple other individuals against the Biden administration and its various subordinates, Doughty has granted an injunction from representatives of the government or its agencies from collaborating with social media companies to regulate what topics, opinions, and specific perspectives are available to be shared online.
Doughty suggested that the plaintiff’s allegations represent the “most massive attack on free speech in United States’ history.” He further blocked them from flagging specific pieces of content or accounts that government representatives want censored. The injunction also prevents the administration from cajoling changes in guidelines or policies to limit constitutionally protected free speech.
The ruling explicitly states that illegal activity, terrorism, or attempts to interfere with elections are all permissible reasons government representatives can contact and interact with social media companies.
Doughty highlighted multiple topic areas in his ruling that qualified as protected free speech that were impugned by government agents. These included criticism of pandemic-era mask and lockdown policies, vaccine mandates, the safety of vaccines, the potential laboratory origins of the pandemic virus, the validity of the 2020 election, the Hunter Biden laptop story, and anti-establishment or anti-authority perspectives. Constitutionally protected free speech was suppressed by government actors, Doughty wrote.
Doughty also noted that conservative perspectives were targeted in a clear case of “viewpoint discrimination.” During the pandemic, Doughty said that the United States government took on a role equivalent to “an Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth.’”
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey called the ruling a “huge win” in defense of free speech. He further said that the federal government cannot be trusted to defend the rights of its citizens, which is why the founders enshrined the right to criticize the government in the first amendment. Bailey also promised that they aren’t done fighting for Americans’ rights to speak openly and freely and will continue to battle the Biden administration in court.