Supreme Court delays decision on hearing Texas, Florida social media cases


GOP lawmakers have for years maintained that social media platforms such as Twitter suppress conservative viewpoints. Texas and Florida have passed laws that allow users to sue those platforms for the alleged censorship, but those laws remain blocked for now.


What You Need To Know

  • The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday delayed a decision on taking up three cases that could determine the constitutionality of social media laws in Texas and Florida 
  • The laws remain blocked for the time being. GOP lawmakers have for years maintained that social platforms including Twitter suppress conservative viewpoints 
  • The Texas law, House Bill 20, bars social media platforms with at least 50 million active users from blocking, removing or “demonetizing” posts based on users’ views
  • In Florida, the Stop Social Media Censorship Act came about shortly after former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account was suspended in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection event 

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday delayed a decision to hear three cases that could determine the constitutionality of those laws.

Justices have asked the Biden administration for its views on the controversial laws in the meantime. If the court takes the cases up, it likely won’t be until the next term, and a decision wouldn’t come until 2024, which coincides with the next presidential election.

The Texas law, House Bill 20, bars social media platforms with at least 50 million active users from blocking, removing or “demonetizing” posts based on users’ views.

“Big Tech’s reign of endless censorship and their suppression of conservative viewpoints is coming to an end,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wrote in a September 2022 news release. “These massive corporate entities cannot continue to go unchecked as they silence the voices of millions of Americans. HB 20 was designed to protect every Texan wanting to fully express his or her First Amendment rights.”

The Texas law was initially blocked by a district judge, but then allowed to take effect by a panel of the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

A divided Supreme Court in May 2022 blocked the Texas law.

Justices do appear to be interested in the cases. In his dissenting opinion, Justice Samuel Alito wrote, “Social media platforms have transformed the way people communicate with each other and obtain news.”

In Florida, the Stop Social Media Censorship Act came about shortly after former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account was suspended in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection event at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Among other things, it would bar social media platforms from banning political candidates. 

Monday’s high court move came as new Twitter owner Elon Musk has granted “amnesty” to many suspended accounts, including Trump’s. Trump has yet to use his restored account, instead frequently posting on his own platform, Truth Social.

Critics have said that restoring some of those accounts would likely spur a rise in harassment, hate speech and misinformation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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