Ben Terangi is a freelance journalist writing from Milwaukee.
“We are flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation.”
So said Jen Psaki, then-White House press secretary, in July 2021. They were words that would return to haunt the Biden administration and its sprawling network of faceless federal thought police.
Over two years later, the highest court in the land has agreed to hear arguments in Missouri v. Biden, the bombshell case brought against the Federal Government and its agencies first triggered when Psaki belled the cat.
The latest news makes it harder to deny that President Joe Biden’s White House violated the First Amendment by pressuring Big Tech platforms to silence content — much of which was factual — that simply proved inconvenient to their Covid-era agenda.
Topics that were muffled by the Biden administration include “the COVID–19 lab leak theory, pandemic lockdowns, vaccine side effects, election fraud, and the Hunter Biden laptop story,” per the original lawsuit.
“The United States Supreme Court has granted cert in Missouri v. Biden — the nation’s highest court will hear the most important free speech case in American history,” Eric Schmitt announced on X (formerly Twitter) last week.
As then-Attorney General of Missouri, Schmitt was one of two AGs to act as plaintiffs in the case on behalf of their states, the other being Attorney General Jeff Landry of Louisiana. Joining them as litigants were five other individuals, mostly medical doctors.
Too plentiful to recount here, the long list of defendants begins with President Biden and his current press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, before taking in a swathe of U.S. federal departments and dozens of officials.
The Supreme Court’s announcement comes as a mixture of good news and bad for defenders of free speech.
The bad is that, before examining the full record of the case, SCOTUS granted the Biden legal team’s application for stay, effectively allowing them to resume colluding with Big Tech platforms until the case is heard by the bench next spring.
Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch dissented in the 6-3 ruling, arguing, “Government censorship of private speech is antithetical to our democratic form of government, and therefore today’s decision is highly disturbing.”
“At this time in the history of our country, what the Court has done, I fear, will be seen by some as giving the Government a green light to use heavy-handed tactics to skew the presentation of views on the medium that increasingly dominates the dissemination of news. That is most unfortunate,” they added.
The good news is that the current makeup of the Supreme Court makes likely the success of a landmark free speech case whose merits have so far proven strong, as evidenced by the decisions of lower courts.
As reported by Mercator back in July, Louisiana judge Terry Doughty conspicuously used the United States’ national holiday — a day when federal rulings are rarely issued — to release a blistering 155-page ruling against Biden and his co-belligerents.
“If the allegations made by Plaintiffs are true, the present case arguably involves the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history,” the judge fired in his very first paragraph.
“The evidence produced thus far depicts an almost dystopian scenario,” added Judge Doughty, who was an appointee of former President Donald Trump.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, a period perhaps best characterised by widespread doubt and uncertainty, the United States Government seems to have assumed a role similar to an Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth’.”
Doughty’s July ruling prohibited numerous executive branch officials from contacting social media companies to collude in censorship of American citizens.
The Biden legal team took Doughty’s ruling to the court of appeals in September and managed to narrow the scope of the preliminary injunction.
Even so, as reported by the New York Post, “A three-judge panel found that the White House, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the FBI; likely coerced or significantly encouraged social-media platforms to moderate content’ and in doing so, likely censored free speech.”
It is about time President Biden and his censorious allies suffer legal defeat for their shameless suspension of Americans’ First Amendment rights, and wear all of the embarrassment that comes with such a ruling.
Until then, it will be a nervous wait to see if sanity prevails in the Marble Palace.