Attorney General Paxton joined an Ohio-led cert-stage amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court defending a Florida law similar to Texas’s HB 20, which is designed to ensure that individuals aren’t silenced merely because Big Tech companies disagree with their opinion.
The coalition of states is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case after a lower court—the Atlanta-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit—ruled against Florida. The brief notes the alarming rate at which social media companies have engaged in censorship, often against conservatives, and the direct threat that poses to the First Amendment. It also argues that in light of social media’s growing presence as the predominant public square, where citizens engage in lively and necessary discourse, states have the constitutional right to protect Americans’ access to these platforms.
This brief follows a decision in a different circuit—the New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit—that affirmed the constitutionality of Texas’s anti-censorship law, which Attorney General Paxton defended as part of his continuing efforts to hold Big Tech accountable.
“The system cannot work if the public lacks access to the means by which citizens may engage with each other. Censorship by social-media companies thus poses a very real threat to effective self-governance,” the brief reads. “For that reason, States have passed, or are considering, laws to address the problem. Those state laws implicate the question of whether, and in what ways, the government may regulate or discourage private censorship.”
To read the full brief, click here.