The U.S. Supreme Court intervened to temporarily block a Texas law that holds tech companies accountable for the banning of users based on their political viewpoints, a huge win for the Silicon Valley thought police as well as for Democrats who have come to rely on censorship as a critical tool for maintaining power.
On Tuesday, the nation’s highest court voted 5-4 to prevent the law from going into effect while lower courts sort out whether it can be enforced, a decision that broke down in an unusual fashion with leftist Justice Elena Kagan joining conservatives Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch while Trump appointees Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh allied themselves with Chief Justice John Roberts along with Sonia Sotomayor and the retiring Stephen Breyer.
The peculiar alignment was a blow to Texans who under HB 20, a bill signed into law last year by Texas Governor Gregg Abbott, would have had recourse against the one-sided enforcement of rules on social media platforms that have silenced the voices of conservatives while allowing leftists to run wild with threats, doxing and the spewing of the most vile rhetoric imaginable.
“Social media websites have become our modern-day public square. They are a place for healthy public debate where information should be able to flow freely — but there is a dangerous movement by social media companies to silence conservative viewpoints and ideas. That is wrong, and we will not allow it in Texas,” said Governor Abbott when he signed the bill
The SCOTUS vote came after two industry groups that represent Big Tech filed an emergency application with Justice Alito who handles such appeals for the region and who referred it to the full court for a vote.
The groups’ request used the kitchen sink approach to make their case against the Texas law.
“HB20 would compel platforms to disseminate all sorts of objectionable viewpoints, such as Russia’s propaganda claiming that its invasion of Ukraine is justified, ISIS propaganda claiming that extremism is warranted, neo-Nazi or KKK screeds denying or supporting the Holocaust, and encouraging children to engage in risky or unhealthy behavior like eating disorders,” claimed NetChoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association in the petition.
Computer and Communications Industry Association president Matthew Schruers cheered the blocking of Texas’ law.
“We are encouraged that this attack on First Amendment rights has been halted until a court can fully evaluate the repercussions of Texas’s ill-conceived statute,” Schruers said in a statement posted to the group’s website.
“This ruling means that private American companies will have an opportunity to be heard in court before they are forced to disseminate vile, abusive or extremist content under this Texas law,” he said. “We are encouraged that this attack on First Amendment rights has been halted until a court can fully evaluate the repercussions of Texas’s ill-conceived statute.”
In his six-page dissent, Justice Alito wrote that the case “concerns issues of great importance that will plainly merit this Court’s review.”
“While I can understand the Court’s apparent desire to delay enforcement of HB20 while the appeal is pending, the preliminary injunction entered by the District Court was itself a significant intrusion on state sovereignty, and Texas should not be required to seek preclearance from the federal courts before its laws go into effect,” Alito wrote.
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