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Samizdata quote of the day – the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history

One naturally wants to believe that an issue one is involved in is of world-historical importance. But as the judge himself wrote in the decision, “If the allegations made by Plaintiffs are true, the present case arguably involves the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history.” That, my friends, is a strong claim, but as I have previously argued, an entirely accurate one.

Aaron Kheriaty

9 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history

  • bobby b

    This is a court opinion worth reading, and then hanging on to before it somehow goes away.

    (Note that it will come through as a pdf document.)

  • Fraser Orr

    @bobby, I’m not sure I have the appetite to slog through 150 pages of a legal opinion. but we have to celebrate any such opinion which opens with Voltaire’s[*] defense of free speech. I wonder if it will stand under review.

    Would you mind explaining the process from here? This is a temporary injunction, but presumably it goes on to a more substantive review, and potentially up the appellate chain?

    [*] yeah, I know, not Voltaire, but the substance matters more than the name.

  • Paul Marks.

    Yes indeed.

    The Federal bureaucracy have long worked with the leading corporations to destroy Freedom of Speech – at least since people “voted the wrong way” in 2016.

    But this is not just the American bureaucracy and corporations – this is a long standing international agenda, called by various names, Agenda 2030, Sustainable Development goals, DEI (EDI in Britain), ESG and-so-on.

    International policy can be summed up with one word – liberticide.

  • Paul Marks.

    Good – this article was shareable. And I have shared it.

  • bobby b

    Fraser Orr: Here’s the best part out of that 150 pages:

    The Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits in establishing that the Government has used its power to silence the opposition. Opposition to COVID-19 vaccines; opposition to COVID-19 masking and lockdowns; opposition to the lab-leak theory of COVID-19; opposition to the validity of the 2020 election; opposition to President Biden’s policies; statements that the Hunter Biden laptop story was true; and opposition to policies of the government officials in power. All were suppressed. It is quite telling that each example or category of suppressed speech was conservative in nature. This targeted suppression of conservative ideas is a perfect example of viewpoint discrimination of political speech. American citizens have the right to engage in free debate about the significant issues affecting the country.

    Although this case is still relatively young, and at this stage the Court is only examining it in terms of Plaintiffs’ likelihood of success on the merits, the evidence produced thus far depicts an almost dystopian scenario. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a period perhaps best characterized by widespread doubt and uncertainty, the United States Government seems to have assumed a role similar to an Orwellian “Ministry of Truth.”

    The Plaintiffs have presented substantial evidence in support of their claims that they were the victims of a far-reaching and widespread censorship campaign. This court finds that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their First Amendment free speech claim against the Defendants. Therefore, a preliminary injunction should issue immediately against the Defendants as set out.

    The Plaintiffs Motion for Preliminary Injunction [Doc. No. 10] is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

    The Plaintiffs’ request to certify this matter as a class action pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. Article 23(b)(2) is DENIED.

    The rest of the opinion sets out all of the factual data used to support the conclusion. It’s all chilling – each item by itself, and the sheer quantity of instances listed where the government put its finger on the scale.

    What’s next? The prelim injunction basically holds that the actions of the government have been so pervasive and harmful that we can’t even wait for the conclusion of this case to make the government stop – it needs to be stopped now. But the judge can’t order this prelim without certifying that it is apparent to the judge that the Plaintiffs are going to win the case (in respect to the wrongfulness of the gov action) in the end.

    This order is immediately appealable to the next level, and I understand that appeal has already been filed. The appeal will be on the “abuse of discretion” standard, meaning the appellate court would have to decide that the judge was going way beyond his power – a tough standard of review to win. The judge is granted great discretion concerning how he saw the facts of the case – appellate courts don’t usually touch factual conclusions. (He saw the evidence and heard the witnesses, and they didn’t.) They will jump in usually only if the judge made an error in his legal reasoning.

    So this case itself will likely go quiet for a bit until that appeal shakes out. The injunction will stand, unless the appellate court orders it stricken. Whoever loses this appeal will also be able to take it up even further for review. Unless someone backs down, the USSC could be the ultimate judge of the injunction. If the injunction is eventually cancelled, the underlying legal case still goes on, to the same judge, where the Plaintiffs could still win even if they lost the prelim injunction phase. (“Even though it wasn’t all so dangerous as to require a preliminary injunction stopping the gov from doing what it was doing while we argue the case, the gov still shouldn’t be doing those things.”)

    The bulk of the case is important, though, because it sets out, in great detail and with supporting citations and factual references, what the government did that was wrong. If someone is at all into this particular legal fight, I’d recommend reading it. Otherwise, the conclusions are enough.

  • bobby b

    Having read the opinion, I’d guess that the most profitable attack will come by arguing that government coercion is not the same thing as the government making recommendations and observations that do not carry any explicit or implicit threat should it not be followed. (Ignoring several instances set out in the opinion of just such explicit and implicit “promises”, of course.)

    That’s enough, not for a good, rational, logical piece of Constitutional analysis, but for a cover piece that would give the government the benefit of the doubt. That would cancel the prelim inj, but the case would still move on.

    Should we see any mention of government employees having the right to free speech in their own right, though, we’ll know the appellate court is a paid-for Democrat hack. No such right exists for government employees to simply talk, unless it is totally unconnected to their jobs. Every gov employee speaks with the power of his employer in the background.

  • Paul Marks.

    bobby b.

    Yes – the line of the international government and corporate media bureaucracy was a series of lies.

    And what they called “disinformation” and censored and punished (medical doctors being driven from their posts, scientists being persecuted – and so on) was THE TRUTH.

    This is true of Covid – and many other vitally important matters.

    The international establishment (government and corporate) lie, they lie about vitally important matters, and they try and cover up (or discredit) the truth, by censorship, smearing and persecution.

    This spreading of lies, and persecution of the truth (on many vitally important matters), is at the heart of the international agenda of “Public-Private Partnership”. “Stakeholder Capitalism”, the Corporate State.

  • Sam Duncan

    They’re way ahead of you, bobby:

    “It can’t be that the government violates the First Amendment simply by engaging with the platforms about their content-moderation decisions and policies,” Jaffer told The New York Times. “If that’s what the court is saying here, it’s a pretty radical proposition that isn’t supported by the case law.”

  • Mark Green

    That’s probably the most horrifying and yet simultaneously glorious judgement I’ve ever read