A federal judge in Louisiana denied a request by the Biden DOJ to delay an order he issued last week which bans federal agencies from communicating with social media companies.
Judge Terry Doughty refused to pause his July 4 nationwide injunction, as well as an alternative request for a seven-day pause while it petitions the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals.
In his Monday ruling, Doughty defended his order against the DOJ's claims that it's overly broad and unclear in terms of what types of communications are no longer allowed. Doughty wrote that the government isn't entitled to a delay in enforcing his order because they were likely to lose on the merits of the case, and slammed the DOJ for failing to identify a specific example of activity that would be hurt in the meantime.
While last week's ruling involves several different agencies, "it is not as broad as it appears," he wrote, adding "It only prohibits something the Defendants have no legal right to do — contacting social media companies for the purpose of urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner, the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech posted on social-media platforms. It also contains numerous exceptions."
The Biden administration wants to put the communications ban on hold while it challenges Doughty’s 155-page opinion concluding the government likely violated the First Amendment in its efforts to persuade tech companies to take steps to limit the spread of misinformation and fake accounts, especially during the pandemic.
In asking for a reprieve, government attorneys argued the judge’s order was too broad, unclear and would interfere with the ability of federal agencies to work with tech companies “on initiatives to prevent grave harm to the American people and our democratic processes.” -Bloomberg
The order bars the feds from "urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing" social media companies to remove or restrict content protected by the First Amendment - however exemptions exist for communications about criminal activity, threats to national security, election integrity issues, and other "permissible public government speech."
The case is State of Louisiana v. Biden, 3:22-cv-01213, US District Court, Western District of Louisiana (Monroe)
🚨🚨BREAKING- Missouri v. Biden -— Tracy Beanz (@tracybeanz) July 10, 2023
The judge in the case has DENIED the stay on the temporary injunction. pic.twitter.com/Ki1hHd2vmK