Supreme Court Blocks Texas Law on Content Moderation from Taking Effect
On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court released an emergency ruling, blocking a Texas law that sought to stop media companies from monitoring and removing content based on their viewpoints. The law is known as HB20 and was passed through the state legislature and signed by Governor Abbott. At the time of its passing, Governor Abbott said that he was doing what needed to be done because conservative voices were being silenced or muted on social media platforms.
The law was very quickly challenged by big tech companies, who stated that if this law was allowed to take effect, it would compel them to allow problematic media from places such as Russia. A federal judge agreed with the big tech companies, blocking the law from going into effect. That decision was soon reversed, however, as the State of Texas appealed the decision, and the 5th circuit court of appeals sided with the state. This meant that the law was reinstated.
This caused panic to set in and big tech companies filed an emergency request to the Supreme Court to have the law temporarily blocked. All the legal matters took place, and the Supreme Court issued its ruling on Tuesday.
The final vote on the matter was 5–4. Those who voted to block the law included Chief Justice John Roberts, Conservative justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, and Liberal justices Steven Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. The justices that dissented and wanted the law to stand included Conservative justices Alito, Thomas, and Gorsuch, along with Liberal justice Kagan.
It is important to remember that the ruling, in this case, was not on the merits of the law. The only thing that the justices were deciding, in this case, was whether or not the law would be allowed to take effect or if it would be blocked. The law could reappear in the Supreme Court based on its merits in a future Supreme Court term.