Court’s Ruling on Social Media Speech Reveals Need for Congressional Reform


The recent Supreme Court ruling in Murthy v. Missouri on standing grounds underscores the need for Congressional reform to protect social media speech from executive branch censorship. The decision is a clear signal that the remedy for this suppression lies not in the courts, but rather in legislative action.

The government’s involvement in social media censorship is a fundamentally flawed concept that undermines the principles of self-governance and democratic values. Private social media companies, not extensions of the state, are subject to their own terms of service and community guidelines. Any government coercion or coercion-inspired censorship sets a harmful precedent, eroding the fabric of society.

The Murthy case provides a striking example of this trend. Surgeon General Murthy’s attempt to force removal of certain Covid-19-related content from social media platforms was an egregious display of censorship. Subsequent revelations about government-directed censorship of legitimate public debate further underscore the need for action.

Moreover, this is just one of several instances of government coordination with social media companies to censor specific information or voices. The failed effort to suppress discussion of Hunter Biden’s laptop, based on discredited claims about Russian propaganda, demonstrates the danger of unchecked government influence. Free speech, especially during elections and political discourse, is too essential to be sacrificed at the altar of alleged security concerns or misinformation narratives.

Legislation is the best avenue for resolving this crisis. Congress should ban direct government interactions with social media companies and employees to promote transparency and accountability. Short of such a ban, effective safeguards would include mandatory written correspondence between the government and social media companies and mandatory online publication of these communications within seven days. Breaches of this regulation would result in severe consequences, including termination. Whistleblowers, be they government officials or social media employees, would receive protections under the law.

To balance these protections, lawmakers could establish carefully circumscribed exceptions for national security or ongoing law enforcement operations. Personal certification from agency heads and regular reporting to a bipartisan oversight committee would ensure oversight and transparency in these cases.

The core principle must be respected – freedom of speech is not a negotiated right but a fundamental right demanding unyielding protection. We must vigorously defend the ability to speak freely without government intimidation, especially in the online public sphere. The line must be drawn clearly and definitively to safeguard democratic discourse from censorship and arbitrary restrictions.

Amber Hulse
Amber Hulse
Amber Hulse is a recent graduate of Georgetown Law School, a law clerk at the Dhillon Law Group, and the Republican nominee for South Dakota State Senate District 30.

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