The Biden administration has lodged an appeal against a preliminary injunction issued on Wednesday, which aimed to prohibit federal officials from engaging with social media platforms to censor content that includes protected speech.
Judge Terry A. Doughty of the Western District of Louisiana imposed the injunction on Tuesday after determining that the plaintiffs in the free speech lawsuit Missouri v. Biden, namely Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, presented “evidence of a significant endeavor by Defendants, ranging from the White House to federal agencies, to stifle speech based on its content.” The Biden administration filed an appeal against the injunction to the Fifth Circuit the following day.
This injunction restrained federal officials, including those in the Department of Health and Human Services and the FBI, from communicating with social media platforms with the intent of advocating, promoting, pressuring, or inducing the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content that contains protected free speech.
BIDEN: "Do you disagree with the judge’s ruling that this coordination was a form of censorship that specifically targeted Conservative speech?"— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) July 5, 2023
JEAN-PIERRE: "We disagree with the decision." pic.twitter.com/4ui0ql6jiD
“Although this case is still relatively young, and at this stage the Court is only examining it in terms of Plaintiffs’ likelihood of success on the merits, the evidence produced thus far depicts an almost dystopian scenario,” Doughty wrote. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, a period perhaps best characterized by widespread doubt and uncertainty, the United States Government seems to have assumed a role similar to an Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth.’”
In March, Landry and Bailey submitted a motion seeking a preliminary injunction. The motion emphasized more than 1,400 facts extracted from documents obtained by the attorneys general through the lawsuit. These facts were presented to demonstrate the involvement of officials in activities aimed at censoring content on social media platforms.