Sep 102023

This is a very large win!

Children’s Health Defense (CHD) will be sending a Report on it.  I’ll post it when received . . .  see

2023-09-11 Appeals Court Rules Biden Administration Likely Violated First Amendment by Pressuring Tech Firms to Censor Social Media Posts, from CHD. (more detailed analysis)

BTW:  the only way I can post material from Reclaim the Net is to post the whole newsletter.


From: Reclaim The Net
Sent: September 10, 2023
Subject: Appeals court rules Biden administration censored free speech

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Appeals Court Finds Biden Administration Violated The First Amendment When It Pushed For Social Media Censorship


The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that certain officials from President Joe Biden’s administration overstepped their bounds by pressuring social media platforms to limit specific content. The court affirmed that the White House, Surgeon General, CDC, and FBI likely infringed upon the First Amendment by urging or significantly influencing the decisions of social media companies to censor content.

We obtained a copy of the opinion for you here.

However, the court delineated its position, pointing out discrepancies with a previous lower court decision. It disagreed with the district court’s previous judgment that the NIAID, CISA, and State Department Officials had potentially violated the First Amendment.

The broader injunction originally issued by District of Louisiana Judge Terry A. Doughty in the Missouri v. Biden case sought to bar the Biden administration from pushing social media platforms to censor. This injunction was rooted in the belief that these actions suppressed protected speech.

In the lead-up to the 2020 elections, the FBI’s interactions with tech giants came under intense scrutiny. The court agreed that their collaboration wasn’t confined solely to addressing foreign threats and that the FBI extended its scope to encompass content emerging from within American borders.

The judges wrote that the Biden Administration likely “coerced the platforms to make their moderation decisions by way of intimidating messages and threats of adverse consequences,” and also found the White House “significantly encouraged the platforms’ decisions by commandeering their decision-making processes, both in violation of the First Amendment.”

Of the ten provisions set in the original injunction, the court decided to maintain the sixth one. This provision prohibits officials from exerting undue influence on companies to remove content. The language of this provision was revised to ensure clarity and to prevent misinterpretation. It emphasizes that government officials must not pressure social media platforms to censor protected free speech, even in indirect manners.

Elaborating on the decision, the court noted, “Under the modified injunction, the enjoined Defendants cannot coerce or significantly encourage a platform’s content-moderation decisions.” Any suggestion of adverse consequences, even if not directly communicated or realized, that may be perceived as punitive in nature by a reasonable individual, falls under this prohibition.

While the ruling marked a major development, the appeals court also accepted the Biden administration’s plea to pause the enforcement of the injunction for ten days, allowing them time to approach the Supreme Court.

“In an unprecedented, historic decision, the Fifth Circuit has recognized that the conduct of the White House, CDC, Surgeon General, and FBI violated Americans’ First Amendment rights. The government cannot coerce or encourage social media companies to censor views it dislikes. This decision vindicates the Plaintiffs’ rights and protects the free speech of all Americans,” said Jenin Younes, Litigation Counsel of the NCLA to Reclaim The Net. The NCLA represented their clients, censorship victims, Drs. Jayanta Bhattacharya, Martin Kulldorff and Aaron Kheriaty, and Ms. Jill Hines in the lawsuit.

“The Biden Administration’s coordinated censorship campaign against the American people ends today. The Fifth Circuit’s decision details blatantly unlawful conduct by multiple agencies, and its order forbids the government’s widespread contempt for the First Amendment from continuing in no uncertain terms,” Mark Chenoweth, President and General Counsel, NCLA said.





EU Chief Boasts About Vaccine Passports, Calls For More Global Digital Collaboration – Paving The Way For Digital IDs


With an ominous call for increased global collaboration and centralization, European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen at a G20 Summit session, dubbed “One Future,” today appealed for an international regulatory body for Artificial Intelligence and digital ID systems similar to coronavirus vaccine passports.

Von der Leyen audaciously proclaimed our collective future to be digital, hence the implied necessity for global entities to draw boundaries and enforce regulations.

Von der Leyen, in her position as the EU Commission President, touched on AI and the digital landscape in her address. She acknowledged the potential dangers and gargantuan opportunities linked with advancing AI technology and emphasized the importance of channeling such explosive technology.

“Today I want to focus on AI and digital infrastructure. As it has been described, AI has risks but also offers tremendous opportunities. The crucial question is how to harness a rapidly changing technology.

“In the EU, in 2020, we presented the first-ever law on artificial intelligence. We want to facilitate innovation while building trust. But we need more. What the world does now will shape our future. I believe that Europe — and its partners — should develop a new global framework for AI risks,” von der Leyen said.



Von der Leyen praised the European Union’s move in 2020 to introduce the first legal framework on AI, a step taken with the intent of fostering innovation alongside trust. However, she insisted that this wasn’t sufficient. She suggested a multinational adoption of a coping mechanism for managing AI risks.

The EU Chief also stressed that globally accepted standards must be created under the purview of the United Nations, akin to their Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Humanity stood to benefit, she argued, if an international authority could clarify the risks and rewards related to AI, akin to the IPCC for climate concerns.

Concurrently, von der Leyen championed the concept of digital public infrastructure similar to the coronavirus passport system – a system developed by the EU as a response to the Covid saga. The World Health Organization embraced it with open arms as a global standard for combating health threats.

“Many of you are familiar with the COVID-19 digital certificate. The EU developed it for itself. The model was so functional and so trusted that 51 countries on 4 continents adopted it for free. Today, the WHO uses it as a global standard to facilitate mobility in times of health threats,” von der Leyen continued.

Alarmingly, von der Leyen praised the EU’s strides towards a bloc-wide digital identity app capable of storing a citizen’s personal information, including credit cards, driver’s license, and passport data.

These developments ring alarm bells for individuals and nations valuing free speech and privacy.





X Sues California Over Content “Moderation” Law


In the recent wave of internet regulations emerging from California, one stands out as particularly contentious: AB 587, labeled the “transparency” bill. While the overarching concept of transparency has been applauded by some, the real-world implications of this particular legislation have raised alarms across the digital space as, in this instance, it’s being used as a form of censorship.

Elon Musk and X, with his notable influence and resources, has stepped into the spotlight to challenge this law’s validity and is welcomed since a similar lawsuit against the bill failed in recent weeks.

We obtained a copy of the lawsuit for you here.

AB 587 exemplifies the complications of politicians trying to curb online “misinformation,” and how they rub up against the First Amendment.

When Minds, Tim Pool, and the Babylon Bee took the charge with a lawsuit filed earlier this year, the lawsuit eventually fizzled out as the judge couldn’t find how the law would affect the plaintiffs. The court cited an inadequate presentation of the potential harm this law could inflict.

While some argued that the law did affect the plaintiffs, it’s very clear that it does at least affect large social media platforms – meaning that the door was open for another entity to come along and challenge the law.

Taking up the mantle, Musk’s X has now mounted a robust legal challenge against the law. Bolstering their claim, they’ve enlisted Floyd Abrams, a renowned First Amendment lawyer, to represent them, and have gone with a strong compelled speech argument.

According to the lawsuit, filed by X, AB 587, promoted by the State of California as a “transparency” measure for social media companies, is argued to infringe on constitutional free speech rights. The complaint claims it forces companies like X into involuntary speech and meddles in their editorial decisions. The argument points out that while the law mandates companies to disclose their content moderation policies, its real intention is to coerce these platforms into eradicating content the state finds problematic. This perspective is supported by legislative documents and statements from the law’s creators, emphasizing the objective to combat “divisive content” and promote “better corporate citizens.” Essentially, critics believe the primary aim of AB 587 is to pressure platforms into eliminating government-disapproved content.

Read background information on California’s AB 587 here.

Read the analysis of the failure of the first legal challenge here.





Massachusetts Attorney General Claims Censorship Records Could Reveal “Law Enforcement Matters”


America First Legal has disclosed that their Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General resulted in the categorization of “misinformation” and “disinformation” investigations as a “law enforcement matter.”

This information stems from an inquiry into the Attorney General’s response to a letter written by twelve Democrat state attorneys general to the heads of Twitter (now X) and Facebook.

The letter urged these tech giants to censor certain viewpoints of US citizens, notably those of the “Disinformation Dozen.” This initiative was backed by the UK’s pro-censorship body, the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH).

In a reply on September 6, 2023, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office opted to withhold records in relation to AFL’s inquiry. The reason? Disclosures could inadvertently shed light on “multistate law enforcement matters.” The nature of the letter itself, a call for censorship, was intriguingly described as a “multistate” “law enforcement matter.”



This treatment of misinformation and disinformation as potential legal transgressions has heightened concerns surrounding the sanctity of free speech.

In response to this, AFL is diving deeper, submitting a subsequent request to the Attorney General’s office. They seek clarity and comprehensive records that shed light on how many such “law enforcement investigations” linked to misinformation or disinformation have been undertaken.

Gene Hamilton, Vice President and General Counsel of America First Legal, voiced his alarm: “If so-called misinformation and disinformation are legitimate law enforcement matters for the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, then the First Amendment is under much more severe threat than anyone realizes. They are either trying to hide the existence of damaging emails and documents that reveal the extent of their desire to censor American speech, or they have completely lost their minds regarding what the First Amendment protects.”





Editor Fired Over Tweet Receives Damages From Literary Consultancy


Cornerstones Literary Consultancy, a prominent name in the world of publishing, has issued an apology and agreed to pay “substantial” compensation to Sibyl Ruth, a 63-year-old editor who was let go from her position in the aftermath of a tweet she posted in May.

The tweet in question had Ruth reacting to a photograph of a transgender individual. “I do believe that people should be allowed to wear what they want etc etc… But what blows my mind is the idea that with heavy five o’clock shadow, a perm and lippy and a bag with gold chains = woman,” Ruth tweeted. She went on to add, “While us boring biological women get derided if we have one or two faint chin hairs.”

Shortly after this tweet was highlighted to Cornerstones’ management, Ruth’s ongoing projects were halted and her profile was taken down from the consultancy’s official website. The abrupt removal left Ruth feeling “shell shocked” and marginalized, reflecting on the experience as a moment she “just disappeared.” Describing the sudden turn of events, she said, “They took me off a project. It was just a bit strange.”

Emphasizing her position, The Telegraph reported, Ruth clarified that her stance wasn’t against progressive views, stating, “This is not a fight against wokeness. It is simply fighting for freedom of expression.”

Cornerstones, in their public apology posted on Twitter, acknowledged their oversight, confessing that the dismissal was due to her expressing opinions that clashed with the views of the Cornerstones team. They further admitted that while they were concerned about potential backlash from the broader publishing community, their reaction to the situation was hasty. They conceded, “Cornerstones ought to have more firmly encouraged an open dialogue with her before taking any action.”

Furthermore, the company recognized Ruth’s feminist beliefs, stating they are “worthy of respect in a democratic society.”

Ruth, having served Cornerstones for 18 months, was among the consultancy’s group of freelance editors, providing invaluable mentoring, copy editing, and proofreading services to various authors.

Cornerstones’ actions prompted Ruth to launch a crowdfunding campaign for her legal expenses, eventually raising £16,000 ($20,000). In her statement on the site, she expressed her gratitude towards her legal team, notably the lawyers from the Free Speech Union, and the overwhelming public support she received.


Thanks for reading,

Reclaim The Net

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