The Supreme Court temporarily blocks Texas law restricting censorship of social media companies

The US Supreme Court issued one unusual vote temporarily blocking a Texas law designed to place restrictions on social media companies that censor their users’ speech.

The verdict was 5 to 4, with Liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer joining Conservative Chief Justices John Roberts, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett in the majority.

Liberal Justice Elena Kagan and Conservative Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch opposed the verdict.

The law would have allowed social media users to sue companies if their speech was obstructed on their platforms. It also refers to the social media channels as “common carriers”, similar to railroads and phone companies.

Tech companies sued to block the law, arguing that it violated their rights to free speech by forcing them to post offensive language on their platforms.

Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed into law what is known as House Bill 20, which went into effect on September 9 but was struck down by a federal judge in December. The tech industry filed an emergency motion to block the law after the Fifth Circuit Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in May cancel the injunction while federal courts decided the final fate of the law.

“Texas should not be required to seek pre-approval from the federal courts before its laws go into effect,” Alito wrote in the dissent for himself, Thomas and Gorsuch.

The majority gave no justification for their justification.

Conservatives have long accused social media companies of selectively applying their rules to penalize the right far more than the left, effectively censoring their political speech.

Abbott said when he signed the law that “there is a dangerous movement by social media companies to silence conservative viewpoints and ideas. This is wrong and we will not allow it in Texas.”

Here is more about the Texas social media law:

Why might a Texas law change how social media works in the state? The Supreme Court temporarily blocks Texas law restricting censorship of social media companies

Laura Coffey

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