The Supreme Court temporarily blocked Texas's controversial, Republican-backed social media law that would have banned major platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube from censoring most content.
In a 5-4 vote Tuesday, the justices granted an emergency request from tech industry associations to block a lower court order that would have allowed the law to take hold, pending legal challenges.
H.B. 20, a Republican-backed anti-Big Tech law that stops social media companies from restricting users due to their political beliefs, was reinstated by a federal appeals court earlier this month, paving the way temporarily for Texans to sue platforms that censor them.
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The law was passed last September but was paused until earlier this month and will now go back to being paused until the law is fully considered by the lower court, thanks to the Supreme Court ruling.
“Despite Texas’s best efforts to run roughshod over the First Amendment, it came up short in the Supreme Court,” said Chris Marchese, Counsel at NetChoice, one of the tech industry associations that sued to block the Texas law. “HB 20 will once again be enjoined and the case will proceed in the lower courts.”
“Given the district court’s well-reasoned conclusion that Texas’s law is so constitutionally flawed that it must be enjoined in its entirety, we are confident the courts will likewise strike it down in its entirety,” Marchese added.
In an unexpected alignment, the five justices in the majority who temporarily blocked the law were Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, and Sonia Sotomayor.
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On the other hand, liberal Justice Elena Kagan joined conservative Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch in saying that they would have denied the tech associations' request to block the law.