Two Internet trade associations are suing Texas and its Attorney General Ken Paxton over a recent law that regulates social media companies’ ability to remove users from their platforms. Filed on September 22nd in the U.S. District Court for the District of Texas Austin Division, NetChoice and Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), which represent Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others, contend that House Bill 20 violates the First Amendment.
On July 9th, nine constituents dismissed their lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton after he agreed to unblock them from his Twitter account. The nine plaintiffs, who were represented by the Knight First Amendment Institute, sued Paxton in April after he blocked them for criticizing some of his policies.
The MacIver Institute sued Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers in 2019 after his office allegedly refused to invite reporters from the think tank’s news arm, MacIver News Service, to press briefings. On April 9th, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit sided with the Governor after finding his office had acted on viewpoint-neutral policies and that MacIver had failed to show evidence that the policy was applied in a discriminatory manner.
The lawsuit claims Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton used his official position to retaliate against the company by issuing a civil investigative demand (CID) seeking documents related to the company’s content moderation policies. Twitter’s lawyers said that Paxton’s actions infringed on the company’s First Amendment right to “make decisions about what content to disseminate through its platform.”
Not every “political” social media account run by a public official is a public forum, a three-judge panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled on January 27th. The case involves a Missouri state legislator who was sued by her political opponent after she blocked him from her Twitter account.
A day before Joe Biden's inauguration, the Justice Department under Donald Trump made a last-minute effort to undo a major court decision related to public official's social media accounts.
On November 26th, the United States Supreme Court ordered a preliminary injunction barring the state of New York from enforcing a restriction on religious gatherings after finding that the regulations “single[d] out houses of worship for especially harsh treatment.”
Two students who were prohibited from wearing pro-gun t-shirts in school can now move forward with their First Amendment claims after a federal judge found that the shirts were protected speech.