In a notable development, a federal judge issued an extraordinary preliminary injunction on Tuesday. The injunction will block key agencies and officials from the Biden administration from engaging in meetings and communications with social media companies concerning “protected speech.” The ongoing case has the potential to significantly impact the First Amendment.
The mandate comes as a response to a lawsuit filed by Republican attorneys general in Louisiana and Missouri. Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that the officials are going too far to push social media firms to highlight posts that could alter the election or promote vaccine reluctance.
Decision could push government and social media coordination years back
The recent decision made by the judge, who was appointed during the Trump administration, has raised concerns about the potential impact on the ongoing efforts to improve coordination between the government and social media companies.
Over the course of more than a decade, the federal government has made attempts to collaborate with these platforms to address various forms of criminal activity. These include the circulation of child sexual abuse images and combating terrorism.
Evelyn Douek, an assistant professor at Stanford Law School, said, “The injunction is strikingly broad and clearly intended to chill any kind of contact between government actors and social media platforms.”
Judge Terry A. Doughty, who presided over the case, has not issued a final ruling yet. However, by granting the injunction, the judge has indicated a leaning towards the Republican attorneys general’s arguments. It suggests that Judge Doughty may conclude that the Biden administration’s actions violated First Amendment rights.