Court Reminds Conservatives For 9,278,428th Time The First Amendment DOES NOT APPLY To Businesses
Paging Donald Trump!
Grandpa Tweetrant is GRRRR SO MAD that Twitter finally factchecked one of his eleventy billion lies and now he's threatening to do ... something about it.
....Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1590536410.0
You can't stifle his FREE SPEECH, man!
Except, womp womp, funny you should mention it, Poppy, because here's the DC Circuit just today reminding us that the First Amendment does not apply to non-government actors. One more time for the cheap seats, you don't have a First Amendment right to use commercial platforms to barf out whatever stupid nonsense you want!
Still confused? Here's a little love note from 1791 to lay it out clearly:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
In other words, corporations don't owe you shit under the First Amendment.
Which is apparently news to Wonkette's best pal Larry Klayman, who filed a putative class action suit on behalf of Freedom Watch and all the rest of the poor, censored conservatives whose speech was allegedly stifled by Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Apple. Somewhere along the way, that wackjob Laura Loomer joined, but there aren't enough drugs in the world to fortify us to go through the docket and figure out when she wandered into the frame.
Acting in concert with traditional media outlets, including but not limited to Cable News Network ("CNN"), MSNBC, the New York Times and the Washington Post – all of whom are owned and/or managed by persons with a leftist political ideology, Defendants have intentionally and willfully suppressed politically conservative content in order to take down President Donald Trump and his administration with the intent and purpose to have installed leftist government in the nation's capital and the 50 states.
Defendants' goal is to use their position of influence and great market power – as set forth below – to re-craft the nation into their leftist design.
US District Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee, was having none of it, ruling that, "while selective censorship of the kind alleged by the Plaintiffs may be antithetical to the American tradition of freedom of speech, it is not actionable under the First Amendment unless perpetrated by a state actor." He was similarly unimpressed with the plaintiffs' "conclusory" allegation that the tech companies were cahootsing to stifle conservative speech in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Judge McFadden wouldn't even bite on their argument that social media sites are a "place of public accommodation" under the DC Human Rights Act. Unfair!
And now the DC Circuit is taking the side of the Deep State Liebrul Media, holding that the First Amendment doesn't apply to companies.
Freedom Watch's First Amendment claim fails because it does not adequately allege that the Platforms can violate the First Amendment. In general, the First Amendment "prohibits only governmental abridgment of speech." Manhattan Cmty. Access Corp. v. Halleck, 139 S. Ct. 1921, 1928 (2019). Freedom Watch contends that, because the Platforms provide an important forum for speech, they are engaged in state action. But, under Halleck, "a private entity who provides a forum for speech is not transformed by that fact alone into a state actor." Id. at 1930. Freedom Watch fails to point to additional facts indicating that these Platforms are engaged in state action and thus fails to state a viable First Amendment claim.
Sad! Ah, well, good luck with the en banc review and SCOTUS appeal, Larry and Laura. Surely you'll find one judge willing to squint hard at the phrase "Congress shall make no law" and read it to say "Twitter is legally obligated to allow you to spew bile on its site because CONSTITUTION." Just keep digging!
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.