Winning! — at least for now
A federal court on Friday temporarily blocked a ruling that prevented the Biden administration from communicating with social media companies.
A three-judge panel considering emergency matters for the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals granted the Biden administration’s request to put on hold the broad injunction until the case is appealed for a longer stay of the ruling. The new appeal will be ruling on the merits of the case.
Louisiana’s Trump-appointed Judge Terry Doughty ordered last week that a slew of federal agencies were to not communicate with social media companies about taking down “content containing protected free speech” that’s posted on the platforms. The order was based on a case brought by Missouri and Louisiana attorneys general who accused the Biden administration of silencing conservatives’ misinformation regarding Covid-19.
(News Views covered that story here.)
The ruling applied to agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Justice Department and FBI, as well as officials such as US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
Security experts worried Doughty’s ruling would disrupt the routine, close cooperation between government officials and social media companies that developed following Russia’s efforts to meddle in the 2016 US elections.