The United States Supreme Court is asking for more information in the form of briefs from the United States solicitor general before making a final decision on whether to hear arguments in cases involving Texas and Florida laws that address speech moderation on social media platforms.
"The solicitor general is invited to file briefs in these cases expressing the views of the United States," the high court said in an order list published Monday regarding cases involving laws in Florida, Texas, and NetChoice, LLC., that restrict social media platforms from censoring speech.
The laws are currently in limbo after being blocked by the lower courts with NetChoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association claiming that the imposed restrictions placed by both Florida and Texas would violate the free speech rights of private companies to determine the kind of speech they would host on their platforms, CNBC reported.
"We are excited that the Supreme Court is seriously considering taking up our cases and is asking the Solicitor General for its take on the cases," NetChoice Counsel Chris Marchese said in a statement to CNBC Monday. "We expect the solicitor general will recognize the First Amendment rights of websites and to call on the Supreme Court to take up the cases and find for NetChoice and CCIA."
SCOTUS blocked the Texas law form taking effect in May 2022 without hearing arguments on the merits of the case, and will now decide if they will take arguments in the lawsuits which could change the way social media companies operate.
The Texas law reclassifies the platforms as "common carriers" similar to phone companies where posts could not be removed because the company disagrees with a viewpoint being expressed, CNBC reported at the time.
"[Texas law] HB20 would compel platforms to disseminate all sorts of objectionable viewpoints, such as Russia's propaganda claiming that its invasion of Ukraine is justified, ISIS propaganda claiming that extremism is warranted, neo-Nazi or KKK screeds denying or supporting the Holocaust, and encouraging children to engage in risky or unhealthy behavior like eating disorders," the social media plaintiffs said in an earlier filing reported by the news outlet.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton responded by countering that the new law does allow entire illegal categories of content, like pornography, to be removed without violating the law.
"So, for example," CNBC reported Paxton's response saying, "the platforms can decide to eliminate pornography without violating HB 20 ... The platforms can also ban foreign government speech without violating HB 20, so they are not required to host Russia's propaganda about Ukraine."
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