On July 4th, a federal judge issued an injunction against the Biden administration that would largely prevent government agencies from contacting Big Tech companies. The judge believed the federal government was dictating the kinds of speech that should be allowed on major social media platforms—a violation of the First Amendment.
Now, Sen. Rand Paul is following up.
Fox News reports that “Paul is expected to propose the Free Speech Protection Act on Tuesday, which would impose harsh penalties on federal employees and contractors who leverage their positions to attack speech protected under the First Amendment.”
In other words, instead of government agencies and officials manipulating or censoring your speech on Twitter or Facebook without worry, they would face some sort of punishment.
Including possibly getting sued.
🚨💬NEW Free Speech Bill 💬🚨
Under my Free Speech Protection Act, the government will no longer be able to cloak itself in secrecy to undermine the First Amendment rights of Americans. https://t.co/lpbWbkF05A
— Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 10, 2023
The story continued, “The bill would empower American citizens to sue the government and executive branch officials who violate the First Amendment of the Constitution, according to Paul’s office.”
Many on the Right and Left have clamored to end Section 230, which protects social media platforms from being liable for their users’ language. But many defenders of Section 230 have argued that doing so would essentially end the internet as we know it, with companies like Twitter and Facebook becoming even more censorious.
Paul’s bill does something different. Those in government who censor speech would be directly liable for violating Americans’ First Amendment rights.
Fox News noted that Paul’s office said his legislation “would mandate the frequent publication of and public access to reports on communications between an executive branch agency and a content provider. It bars agencies from using Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) exemptions to stop the disclosure of illegal communications. Paul’s bill also makes sure federal grant money does not go to entities that seek to label media outlets as sources of disinformation or misinformation, and ends several authorities and programs that the senator’s office says threaten Americans’ constitutional rights.”
The federal judge who issued the injunction against the Biden administration last week, Terry Doughty of Louisiana, wrote in his opinion, “If the allegations made by Plaintiffs are true, the present case arguably involves the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history.”