The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday once again blocked a Texas law banning social media companies from removing users from their platforms over what GOP lawmakers have called “viewpoint discrimination.”
House Bill 20 was passed during last year’s legislative session after several prominent conservatives, including former President Donald Trump, were banned on social media for what the companies say was a violation of their terms of service.
Conservatives argue the social media companies are unconstitutionally deplatforming conservative voices, and Texas argued in court that they “must carry” even offensive speech as part of their role as the “modern-day public square.”
A lower court judge temporarily suspended the controversial law, but the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated it three weeks ago.
Tuesday’s decision puts that suspension back in place while the courts rule on the law’s constitutionality.
The Knight First Amendment Institute submitted a brief last month in support of the social media companies, arguing the law violates the companies’ right to free speech.
“The theory of the First Amendment that Texas is advancing in this case would give government broad power to censor and distort public discourse,” Scott Wilkens, senior staff attorney with the Knight First Amendment Institute, wrote in a statement. “The Texas law’s transparency provisions present a more difficult constitutional question, but the law’s must-carry provision is plainly unconstitutional and should be struck down.”