Big Tech trying to force Supreme Court into quick favorable decision in censorship case
The biggest Big Tech platforms are literally large enough now they can -- and have -- influenced the outcome of elections.
Because they are all run by left-wing billionaires, you can guess for which political party they skewer the outcomes: It's not for Republicans.
One state, Texas, is tired of seeing Big Tech manipulate our society and our political outcomes in ways favorable to their ideologies, so the Lone Star State is attempting to do something about it.
Attorney General Ken Paxton is defending a state law that bars the tech platforms from censoring political, social and cultural viewpoints they don't like, and that law is set to take effect soon. It will allow the state to take legal action against the platforms if Texans are silenced.
But the platforms see the writing on the wall, so to speak, and through a trade organization, they are attempting to get a decision favorable to them rushed through the nation's highest court before the issue gets a full hearing (and the full court's consideration), according to The Federalist
Netchoice v. Paxton—the lawsuit that may determine the fate of free speech on social media platforms—has taken a dramatic turn. Just short of two weeks ago, the large platforms—including the likes of Amazon, Google, Twitter, and Facebook, all acting through their trade group, NetChoice—made an “emergency application” to Justice Samuel Alito.
This sort of application is familiar in cases involving grave harm, such as an execution. But is there really any risk of such harm or other emergency in this case? Or are the platforms trying to bum rush the Supreme Court so as to sidestep the ordinary course of judicial inquiry? The Supreme Court needs to be careful that it is not being manipulated.
Again, the case stems from a Texas free speech statute that bars the biggest social media platforms from discriminating against users on the basis of their viewpoints. In response, the platforms are claiming that their censorship of speech (a tacit admission that they actually do censor speech
-- remember all the times their CEOs denied
it -- under oath?) is a protected act under the First Amendment.
Texas argues that the platforms are common carriers and they serve as outlets for other people's speech, and as such, they can be banned from discriminating against users who espouse different viewpoints.
"In other words, the platforms are not being restricted in their own speech, but only barred from discriminating against the speech of others that they carry in their conduits," The Federalist reported.
But these are all very complex questions, the outlet continued, and thus require careful consideration and thought. Even a slight hint as to the high court's response will have major implications in lower courts. As such, it's disturbing to see the platforms, via their trade group NetChoice, trying to seek a quick ruling from Alito via a rushed "emergency application." An issue with this gravity cannot and should not be decided in a hurry.
So -- what is behind the rapid push for a decision?
"Already in the district court, proceedings were accelerated, because the platforms sought a preliminary injunction. And because the platforms were seeking to bar the Texas attorney general from enforcing the statute, there was no discovery on a key question for the constitutionality of the statute—namely, whether the platforms have been cooperating with government to censor Americans," The Federalist explained. "Such coordination is very dangerous, and states have a compelling interest in preventing it."
The platforms are worth tens of billions and have well-lawyered representation; not so much those opposed to the censorship. Nevertheless, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals In New Orleans blocked a lower court's injunction against Texas. And now, the same wealthy platforms are trying to get Alito to rule quickly without consideration.
If they win, our country loses