Washington – The Computer & Communications Industry Association and NetChoice filed their briefs (Florida and Texas) with the Supreme Court of the United States setting forth the many reasons that Florida S.B. 7072 and Texas H.B. 20 violate the First Amendment. The briefs, filed jointly with co-plaintiff NetChoice, explain why these two “must-carry” statutes unconstitutionally compel online services to speak by forcing them to display and disseminate content and prohibiting them from exercising editorial discretion. Argument in these cases is expected to be heard early next year.
Both statutes have been blocked, for the most part, from taking effect while the Supreme Court reviews them. In August 2023, the U.S. Solicitor General responded to the Court’s request for input with a brief stating that “content-moderation activities are protected by the First Amendment” and that the Florida and Texas laws “impermissibly burden those protected activities.”
CCIA has advocated for free speech online for more than 25 years. This includes the First Amendment right for private businesses to determine what material to display and offer to their communities.
The following can be attributed to CCIA President Matt Schruers:
“For more than 200 years, courts have upheld the First Amendment, protecting individuals and businesses from government interference that either blocks or compels speech. The Florida and Texas laws include must-carry provisions that interfere with private companies’ decisions on what content to display for their communities. Without content moderation, internet users would be subjected to more dangerous and unwanted materials online.”
“Our briefs show that the First Amendment protects any form of human communication from government interference. When a government tells private websites they must give equal treatment to extremism or hate speech, it isn’t just unwise, it is unconstitutional — and we look forward to arguing these points to the Court next year.”