Blockbuster federal censorship case; JUDGE asks fed lawyers in fed-tech collusion case...
...If they’ve ever read Orwell’s 1984
The judge presiding over the lawsuit filed by Missouri and Louisiana, alleging collusion between the federal government and social media companies to censor certain viewpoints, is said to have asked if the Biden administration has ever read George Orwell’s 1984.
The transcript of the hearing is not yet available. However, Missouri’s Attorney General Andrew Bailey shared some of the statements made by Judge Terry A. Doughty.
“The federal government had a hard time convincing a judge last week that it hasn’t been working with and coercing social media companies to censor free speech,” Bailey tweeted.
“The judge asked the feds if they had ever read George Orwell’s 1984, pointing out the similarities between the case and the book,” he added.
Bailey also tweeted that [Judge] Doughty asked the federal government about their views on protected speech.
“He asked if an American citizen questioning the safety or efficacy of masks or a vaccine was protected under the First Amendment,” Bailey recalled. “The feds’ answer? ‘It COULD be,’ but often won’t be.”
Doughty’s other scenarios on what speech is or isn’t allowed were met with the response: “it depends.”
“The judge also asked Biden’s lawyers if the First Amendment covered Americans’ right to say that Biden is responsible for high gas prices and inflation,” Bailey added. “Their answer? It depends.”
“The judge also asked them if the First Amendment applied to Americans’ right to say that the 2020 election was stolen,” Bailey wrote. “Their answer? It depends.”
The appointed judge also reportedly noted that it was mostly conservatives who got censored.
—OK. These federal lawyers the judge questioned; they represent the federal government.
Their answers about free speech limitations certainly were meant to apply to citizens posting on social media. But the implications were wider.
If the government can define the limit of free speech in a particular venue (e.g., Twitter), it can define the limit of free speech anywhere.
The even bigger scandal is: what the hell is the government doing by defining free speech at all?