The New Civil Liberties Alliance, the Attorney General of Missouri, and the Attorney General of Louisiana, have filed a lawsuit that blows the lid off a sprawling federal censorship regime that will shock the conscience of Americans. The joint statement on discovery disputes in the lawsuit, State of Missouri ex rel. Schmitt, et al. v. Joseph R. Biden, Jr., et al., reveals scores of federal officials across at least eleven federal agencies have secretly communicated with social-media platforms to censor and suppress private speech federal officials disfavor. This unlawful enterprise has been wildly successful.
Under the First Amendment, the federal government may not police private speech nor pick winners and losers in the marketplace of ideas. But that is precisely what the government has done—and is still doing—on a massive scale not previously divulged. Multiple agencies’ communications demonstrate that the federal government has exerted tremendous pressure on social media companies—pressure to which companies have repeatedly bowed.
Discovery has unveiled an army of federal censorship bureaucrats, including officials arrayed at the White House, HHS, DHS, CISA, the CDC, NIAID, the Office of the Surgeon General, the Census Bureau, the FDA, the FBI, the State Department, the Treasury Department, and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Communications show these federal officials are fully aware that the pressure they exert is an effective and necessary way to induce social-media platforms to increase censorship. The head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency even griped about the need to overcome social-media companies’ “hesitation” to work with the government….