Supreme Court hears First Amendment case on social media

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in a case over conservative social media posts. Republican-led states are accusing the Biden administration of pressuring companies to take down posts it didn’t agree with.

The justices overall seemed skeptical of the GOP argument, but some still entertained it.

“This is absolutely one of the most important cases,” said Gov. Jeff Landry (R-La.)

Republican-led states are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to say the Biden administration went too far in combatting conservative views on social media.

“What happened here was a relentless pressure campaign brought by the federal government to take down protected speech,” said Louisiana Attorney General Elizabeth Murrill.

Louisiana and Missouri attorneys general accuse Biden administration officials of strong-arming social media companies to change controversial posts about COVID-19 and election security.

“I think the evidence clearly establishes coercion.” Said Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey.

Conservative Justice Samuel Alito said he worried about the pressure coming from administration officials to target misinformation.

“It’s treating Facebook and these other platforms like their subordinates. Would you do that to the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal or the Associated Press?”  Alito asked.

The Biden administration argued its officials did not overstep and stressed these controversial posts were happening at a volatile time -the height of the pandemic.

“There was a concern that Americans were getting their news about the vaccine from these platforms, and the platforms were promoting, not just posting, but promoting bad information,” said Principal Deputy Solicitor General Brian Fletcher.

Lower courts have sided with the Republican-led states, but the Supreme Court blocked those rulings while it considers the issue.

The justices seemed likely to side with the Biden administration.

“We think we have a responsibility to give people accurate information and not bad information,” said Fletcher.

The justices will have to rule on several cases this term related to social media and conservative views. Their decisions could set standards for free speech in the digital age.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to Queen City News.