AG Jeff Landry and SG Liz Murrill Bring Landmark Case to Nation's Highest Court
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Supreme Court has granted certiorari and will hear Louisiana and Missouri vs. Biden et al., offering an opportunity to present this landmark case and defend the First Amendment at the highest court in the land.
“We are pleased to learn that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear this case, giving us yet another opportunity to defend the people from this assault on our First Amendment rights,” Solicitor General Liz Murrill said. “It brings us one step closer to reestablishing the protections guaranteed to us in the Constitution and under the First Amendment. We hope that the Supreme Court will agree that this gross abuse of power must stop and never happen again.”
Previously, a federal judge blocked the Biden Administration from colluding with Big Tech companies to censor Americans' protected speech. On July 4, 2023, Judge Terry Doughty of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana prohibited key Biden officials from pressuring or conspiring with social media companies to suppress any content containing protected free speech on their platforms.
The federal government appealed to the Fifth Circuit, which ultimately sided with Louisiana and Missouri. Now, the case will be heard at the U.S. Supreme Court, deciding once and for all the limits of federal power under the Constitution to suppress speech on social media platforms.
“This is a significant opportunity for the American people to be heard in the highest court of the land,” Solicitor General Murrill stated. “It also grants us an opportunity to affirm once and for all that the government is not permitted to use the government-speech doctrine to muffle the expression of disfavored viewpoints. We look forward to making our arguments soon.”
See the full timeline of events below.
On July 4, 2023, the district court entered an injunction against the following defendants:
"DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES ("HHS") and THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES ("NIAID"), and specifically the following employees of the HHS and NIAID: XAVIER BECERRA, Secretary of HHS; DR. HUGH AUCHINCLOSS, Director of NIAID; YOLANDA BYRD, HHS Digital Engagement Team; CHRISTY CHOI, HHS Office of Communications; ASHLEY MORSE, HHS Director of Digital Engagement; JOSHUA PECK, HHS Deputy Assistant Secretary, Deputy Digital Director of HHS successor (formerly JANELL MUHAMMED); along with their secretaries, directors, administrators and employees; SURGEON GENERAL VIVEK H. MURTHY, KATHARINE DEALY, Chief Engagement Officer for the Surgeon General, along with her secretaries, directors, administrators, and employees; the CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION ("CDC"), and specifically the following employees: CAROL Y. CRAWFORD, Chief of the Digital Media Branch of the CDC Division of Public Affairs; JAY DEMPSEY, Social-media Team Leader, Digital Media Branch, CDC Division of Public Affairs; KATE GALATAS, CDC Deputy Communications Director; UNITED STATES CENSUS BUREAU ("Census Bureau"), and specifically the following employees: JENNIFER SHOPKORN, Census Bureau Senior Advisor for Communications, Division Chief for the Communications Directorate, and Deputy Director of the Census Bureau Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, along with their secretaries, directors, administrators and employees; the FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION ("FBI"), and specifically the following employees: LAURA DEHMLOW, Section Chief, FBI Foreign Influence Task Force; ELVIS M. CHAN, Supervisory Special Agent of Squad CY-1 in the FBI San Francisco Division; THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, along with their secretary, director, administrators, and employees; the following members of the Executive Office of the President of the United States: White House Press Secretary KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, Counsel to the President; STUART F. DELERY, White House Partnerships Manager; AISHA SHAH, Special Assistant to the President; SARAH BERAN, MINA HSIANG, Administrator of the United States Digital Service within the Office of Management and Budget; ALI ZAIDI, White House National Climate Advisor; White House Senior COVID-19 Advisor successor (formerly ANDREW SLAVITT); Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Digital Strategy successor (formerly ROB FLAHERTY); DORI SALCIDO, White House COVID-19 Director of Strategic Communications and Engagement; White House Digital Director for the COVID-19 Response Team successor (formerly CLARKE HUMPHREY); Deputy Director of Strategic Communications and Engagement of the White House COVID-19 Response Team successor (formerly BENJAMIN WAKANA); Deputy Director for Strategic Communications and External Engagement for the White House COVID-19 Response Team successor (formerly SUBHAN CHEEMA); White House COVID-19 Supply Coordinator successor (formerly TIMOTHY W. MANNING); Chief Medical Advisor to the President, DR. HUGH AUCHINCLOSS, along with their directors, administrators and employees; the CYBERSECURITY AND INFRASTRUCTURE SECURITY AGENCY ("CISA"), and specifically the following employees: JEN EASTERLY, Director of CISA; KIM WYMAN, Senior Cybersecurity Advisor and Senior Election Security Leader; LAUREN PROTENTIS; GEOFFREY HALE; ALLISON SNELL; BRIAN SCULLY, Officials of CISA; the UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY ("DHS"), and specifically the following employees: ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, Secretary of DHS; ROBERT SILVERS, Under-Secretary of the Office of Strategy, Policy and Plans; SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, Senior Counselor for National Security in the Official of the Secretary for DHS, along with their secretary, directors, administrators, and employees; the UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE ("State Department"), and specifically the following employees: LEAH BRAY, Acting Coordinator of the State Department's Global Engagement Center ("GEC"); ALEX FRISBIE, State Department Senior Technical Advisor and member of the Technology Engagement Team at the GEC; DANIEL KIMMAGE, Acting Coordinator of the GEC, along with their secretary, directors, administrators, and employees."
On September 8, the Fifth
Circuit modified the injunction and affirmed the district court injunction
against the WH, FBI, CDC, and Surgeon General only. The Fifth Circuit
stayed its decision through September 18 to allow the Gov't to seek SCOTUS review.
The modified injunction reads:
"Defendants, and their employees and agents, shall take no actions, formal or informal, directly or indirectly, to coerce or significantly encourage social-media companies to remove, delete, suppress, or reduce, including through altering their algorithms, posted social-media content containing protected free speech. That includes, but is not limited to, compelling the platforms to act, such as by intimating that some form of punishment will follow a failure to comply with any request, or supervising, directing, or otherwise meaningfully controlling the social-media companies' decision-making processes."
On September 14, the Gov't
requested a stay from SCOTUS or, alternatively, a writ of certiorari (review)
of the Fifth Circuit decision. That same day, Justice Alito (as the Fifth
Circuit Justice) issued an administrative stay of the injunction until September 22.
On September 22, plaintiffs petitioned the Fifth Circuit for panel rehearing, arguing that the Fifth Circuit erroneously omitted CISA, GEC, the Election Integrity Partnership, and Virality Project from the injunction. That same day, Justice Alito extended the SCOTUS administrative stay until September 27.
On September 25, the Fifth Circuit granted plaintiffs' petition for panel rehearing.
On September 28, SCOTUS notified the parties that it would not take action on the Gov't stay application due to the Fifth Circuit grant of rehearing.
On October 3, the Fifth Circuit issued a revised opinion on rehearing and withdrew its original opinion dated Sept 8, adding CISA back to the injunction, along with the WH, FBI, CDC, and Surgeon General, but not including the GEC, Election Integrity Partnership, or Virality Project, and staying its decision until October 13.
On October 20, Justice Alito, Justice Thomas, and Justice Gorsuch released their dissent from the SCOTUS stay.