Here we are on the Fourth of July 2023 wondering what has become of American liberty.
On this very day, a federal judge in Louisiana has shown us that the cause is not hopeless. In a tremendous victory for free speech, the Bill of Rights, and freedom generally, Judge Terry A. Doughty has issued a memorandum (with 172 footnotes) on “the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history.”
“The evidence produced thus far depicts an almost dystopian scenario,” writes the Judge. “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.’”
It includes an injunction against the following government agencies immediately to stop all routine contact with social media companies and media generally:
The Department of Justice
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Department of State
The Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency
The Federal Bureau of Investigation
The National Institutes of Health
The Department of Homeland Security
The Department of Health and Human Services
The White House
The Surgeon General
The Census Bureau
By social media companies, the order specifies: “Facebook/Meta, Twitter, YouTube/Google, WhatsApp, Instagram, WeChat, TikTok, Sina Weibo, QQ, Telegram, Snapchat, Kuaishou, Qzone, Pinterest, Reddit, LinkedIn, Quora, Discord, Twitch, Tumblr, Mastodon, and like companies.”
Specifically the injunction forbids the following:
(1) meeting with 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;
(2) specifically flagging content or posts on social-media platforms and/or forwarding such to social-media companies urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner for removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech;
(3) urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner social-media companies to change their guidelines for removing, deleting, suppressing, or reducing content containing protected free speech;
(4) emailing, calling, sending letters, texting, or engaging in any communication of any kind with social-media companies urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner for removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech;
(5) collaborating, coordinating, partnering, switchboarding, and/or jointly working with the Election Integrity Partnership, the Virality Project, the Stanford Internet Observatory, or any like project or group for the purpose of urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content posted with social-media companies containing protected free speech;
(6) threatening, pressuring, or coercing social-media companies in any manner to remove, delete, suppress, or reduce posted content of postings containing protected free speech;
(7) taking any action such as urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner social-media companies to remove, delete, suppress, or reduce posted content protected by the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution;
(8) following up with social-media companies to determine whether the social-media companies removed, deleted, suppressed, or reduced previous social-media postings containing protected free speech;
(9) requesting content reports from social-media companies detailing actions taken to remove, delete, suppress, or reduce content containing protected free speech; and
(10) notifying social-media companies to Be on The Lookout (“BOLO”) for postings containing protected free speech.
The case in question is Missouri v. Biden (NO. 3:22-CV-01213) and it involves many plaintiffs who had been blocked or otherwise censored for years. Indeed millions could have joined this lawsuit.
This case is important because it pushes back on the coup d’état of March 2020 that put the administrative state in place of elected republican forms of government. The government used this power to merge tech, media, government, and pharma into a hegemon that flew in the face of the Bill of Rights. At least one judge sees this as a problem and has acted to stop it, on the 4th of July of all times!
Will this work? Maybe. It certainly sets up a huge drama. The Supreme Court might be hearing this case sooner rather than later. Indeed, that seems to be the whole point of the injunction. It is a massive embarrassment to the Biden regime and the Trump regime too under which this disaster for freedom began. The Supreme Court is very likely to uphold the injunction and issue a decision in light of the thousands of pages of supporting documents found in discovery.
Censorship has become a routine part of life in government and tech. Everyone knew it was going on but no one knew how to stop it. The order is preliminary but very dramatic and far-reaching. At least it names names and lays down the law: they cannot censor via private companies in ways they would otherwise be forbidden to do directly. Nor can they employ third parties such as “fact-checkers” to do the same.
The Judge further explains that the censorship of the past three years blocked:
“Opposition to COVID-19 vaccines; opposition to COVID-19 masking and lockdowns; opposition to the lab-leak theory of COVID-19; opposition to the validity of the 2020 election; opposition to President Biden’s policies; statements that the Hunter Biden laptop story was true; and opposition to policies of the government officials in power. All were suppressed. It is quite telling that each example or category of suppressed speech was conservative in nature. This targeted suppression of conservative ideas is a perfect example of viewpoint discrimination of political speech. American citizens have the right to engage in free debate about the significant issues affecting the country.”
This order truly makes history, and suggests to every American that not all is lost. As the Washington Post complains: “The Trump-appointed judge’s move could upend years of efforts to enhance coordination between the government and social media companies.”
At least some aspect of the court system still works. Massive congratulations to everyone involved and they are many. It’s been a long and dark road but at least the light is visible on the horizon.
Much more to do but this is a great beginning. American liberty will not be lost. Don’t lose faith, my friends, and don’t stop working for the cause of freedom. May justice prevail.
Jeffrey A. Tucker is Founder and President of the Brownstone Institute and the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press and ten books in 5 languages, most recently Liberty or Lockdown.
Jeffrey A.Tucker’s interview with David Leis on Leaders on the Frontier can be seen here.
His testimony at the National Citizens Inquiry (Winnipeg) may be viewed here.