from the kick-the-can dept

Plenty of folks had been anticipating the Supreme Court docket to clearly conform to take the appeals of Florida’s and Texas’s social media content material moderation legal guidelines. As you’ll in all probability recall, each Texas and Florida handed barely completely different legal guidelines that successfully mentioned that they might bar social media platforms from moderating sure varieties of content material. Each legal guidelines had been tossed out as simply and clearly unconstitutional limitations of social media firms’ 1st Modification editorial and affiliation rights.

Each states appealed to their native appeals courts. The eleventh Circuit (in a call written by a Trump-appointed decide) upheld the lower court ruling (principally) and once more highlighted how clearly unconstitutional Florida’s regulation was. The fifth Circuit, however, first reinstated Texas’s regulation with no explanation whatsoever (actually, there was no ruling, past saying that the regulation ought to be in impact instantly), resulting in a rush to the Supreme Court which put the law back on hold. Months later, the fifth Circuit launched a fully batshit crazy ruling that required successfully rewriting a century’s worth of 1st Modification jurisprudence.

Each states appealed to the Supreme Court docket, and mainly everybody anticipated the Court docket to take the circumstances (and mix them). In any case, it was a difficulty that a number of Justices had been asking for circumstances about, in a scenario the place you had a really clear circuit break up between the appeals courts, on a scorching and significant subject relating to social media content material moderation.

However, on Monday morning one thing barely odd occurred. The Supreme Court docket punted. It requested the US Solicitor Common to weigh in on the problem:

Why wouldn’t it do this? It looks as if there’s nothing that the US authorities may say that ought to or would influence the Supreme Court docket’s reasoning in taking (or, I assume, not taking?) these circumstances.

Constitutional scholar Steve Vladeck notes that this probably is only a stalling tactic by the Supreme Court docket.

This virtually definitely implies that the case in regards to the legal guidelines gained’t be heard this session however will, as an alternative, wait till subsequent session — that means that we would not get a ruling on them till 2024.

After all, it’s not clear why they’re stalling. My solely guess is that the Justices know that they’re already dealing with the Gonzalez/Taamneh circumstances this session, that are tangentially associated. And whereas each circumstances contain very completely different points and might be determined independently of one another, maybe the Justices fear that the ruling they arrive to in Gonzalez/Taamneh will one way or the other influence the NetChoice/CCIA line of circumstances towards state legal guidelines? That’s simply idle hypothesis, but it surely’s the one factor that makes any sense to me. I imply, I assume they might assume that in the event that they’re going to burn down the open web, they’ll do it throughout two separate years?

As for the US Solicitor Common, it’s already unclear what they’re going to say, however I’m a bit nervous about it. I’ve a half written put up that will by no means be completed in regards to the SG’s amicus briefs in each Taamneh and Gonzalez they usually’re… not nice. The one in Taamneh is okay, I assume, and makes the plain argument that the case is dumb and simply dismissible for causes unrelated to Part 230. The Gonzalez transient, nonetheless, is totally disconnected from actuality, and raises questions on how a lot the Solicitor Common’s workplace truly understands about points associated to content material moderation. And, due to that, it’s a little bit scary each time they’re requested to weigh in on one thing associated to the web.

I assume we’ll discover out…

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Corporations: ccia, netchoice

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