Today: SCOTUS Hears Laws Against Social Media Bans

Vox reports:

In mid-2021, about a year before he began his longstanding feud with the biggest employer in his state, Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation attempting to seize control of content moderation at major social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter (now called X by Elon Musk). A few months later, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, also a Republican, signed similar legislation in his state.

Both laws are almost comically unconstitutional — the First Amendment does not permit the government to order media companies to publish content they do not wish to publish — and neither law is currently in effect. A federal appeals court halted the key provisions of Florida’s law in 2022. Nevertheless, the justices have not yet weighed in on whether these two unconstitutional laws must be permanently blocked.

Florida Politics reports:

The Florida law prevents tech companies from de-platforming political candidates and subjects the companies to fines as high as $250,000 per day. The legislation also gave residents a chance to sue social media companies if they believed they had been unfairly targeted or censored. At the time the bill was passed DeSantis said it was needed to counter “Silicon Valley elites.”

Groups representing tech companies immediately sued after DeSantis signed the measure into law. A federal judge in Tallahassee blocked the law from taking effect and that decision was largely upheld by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. A separate appeals court, however, reversed a lower court decision on the Texas law that rejected some of the reasoning used by the 11th Circuit.