Washington – The Supreme Court has issued an emergency ruling temporarily blocking HB 20, the Texas social media law, from being enforced while a lower court resolves a preliminary First Amendment challenge to the statute.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association and NetChoice jointly filed an emergency brief Friday, May 13, asking the U.S. Supreme Court for immediate action to prevent an unconstitutional Texas social media law from going into effect.
While a federal court has yet to hear full arguments on the law, the Supreme Court’s action today is over whether the law should be enforced in the months ahead of a lower court giving the case a full hearing. Previously a Texas District Court Judge blocked the law from being enforced starting Dec. 2, 2021, noting that it was likely unconstitutional. If allowed to stay in effect, the law would enable the attorney general and individual users to sue over private businesses’ content moderation decisions, effectively banning social media companies from having and enforcing policies on what types of speech to allow on their platforms.
CCIA has advocated for free speech online for more than 25 years. This effort has included protecting the First Amendment right for citizens and businesses to exercise both the right to speak and not to be compelled to speak online.
The following can be attributed to CCIA President Matt Schruers:
“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.”
“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. We appreciate the Supreme Court ensuring First Amendment protections, including the right not to be compelled to speak, will be upheld during the legal challenge to Texas’s social media law.
“The Supreme Court noting the constitutional risks of this law is important not just for online companies and free speech, but for a key principle for democratic countries.”
“No online platform, website, or newspaper should be directed by government officials to carry certain speech. This has been a key tenet of our democracy for more than 200 years and the Supreme Court has upheld that.”