The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked a Texas law that prohibits large social media companies, such as Facebook or Twitter, from banning or removing users’ posts based on political viewpoints.
The justices, in a 5-4 vote, granted NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association’s request to reinstate a block imposed by a federal district judge as the lawsuit makes its way through the courts. The justices who voted to reverse the lower court’s ruling [Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett] didn’t give a reason for their decision — a standard practice when the court is ruling on emergency applications.
Matt Schruers, president of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, one of the two groups that sued to block the law on claims that it violates companies’ First Amendment rights, celebrated the court’s decision.
[The court’s move has implications for a similar law in Florida. A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week ruled that a similar Florida law unconstitutionally restricts free speech, the News Service of Florida reports. Gov. Ron DeSantis made the law one of his top 2021 legislative priorities, accusing tech companies of having a liberal bias and censoring speech by Republicans. The law, in part, sought to prevent large social-media platforms from banning political candidates from their sites and to require companies to publish — and apply consistently — standards about issues such as banning users or blocking content. NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association challenged the Florida law, arguing that it violated the First Amendment rights of companies and would harm their ability to moderate content on the platforms.]