The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and NetChoice, leading tech advocacy associations, filed an emergency brief last week asking the U.S. Supreme Court for immediate action to prevent a Texas social media law from going into effect.
CCIA and NetChoice originally sued in September 2021, challenging the social media law HB 20 on First Amendment grounds. U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman, a federal judge in Austin, found the law unconstitutional and blocked it from taking effect.
The new emergency brief comes after a federal appeals court issued a split 2-1 single-sentence order this past Wednesday that reversed the lower court’s order, allowing Texas to control what content appears on social media. In their brief, CCIA and NetChoice ask the Supreme Court to reinstate Judge Pitman’s decision to block enforcement of the Texas statute while it is being reviewed under the First Amendment.
“Texas politicians have put political point-scoring above the interests of Internet users,” said CCIA President Matt Schruers. “It would be dangerous to allow this social media law to infringe upon constitutional protections for even a day. That is why we are asking the Supreme Court to take emergency action.
CCIA has advocated for free speech online for more than 25 years, including protecting the First Amendment right of citizens and businesses to exercise the right to speak – and, no less important, the right not to be compelled to speak online. CCIA has spoken out about legislation similar to the Texas social media law in other states, including Florida and Georgia.
“It is unconstitutional for the government to dictate what speech a private company must disseminate whether it be a newspaper, TV show or online platform,” Schruers said. “The First Amendment is crucial to our democracy and the Supreme Court must now protect that principle from government actors who are too willing to sacrifice it on the altar of partisan posturing.”
With this latest action, it is now up to the Supreme Court to determine whether to uphold the social media law or allow First Amendment ideals to prevail.