Federal Judge Blocks DeSantis Law Punishing Tech Companies

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The world has been a quieter, more relaxed, and probably healthier place since Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter blocked the ex-president’s flood of rancid digital water aka posts. Donald Trump moved his residency from New York to Florida, a state that draws people who want to pay fewer taxes. So, it should come as no surprise that this state should come up with a law penalizing tech companies from blocking politicians’ posts. Here is what happened next.

The new Florida law called for fines to be assessed should they block politicians’ electronic communications prior to an election. It was voted into law after Trump’s accounts were finally suspended following the January 6 attempted coup.

It has recently appeared that Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) might take his turn at a run for president in the 2024 election. When he signed the law just in May, he wrote in an official governor’s statement. It said that he considered the new law preventing “censorship of conservatives.’

U.S. District of the Northern District of Florida Judge Robert Hinkle said that this law would be ruled unconstitutional, according to The Washington Post:

‘The plaintiffs are likely to prevail on the merits of their claim that these statutes violate the First Amendment. There is nothing that could be severed and survive.’

DeSantis’s office released a statement indicating that he planned on an immediate appeal of the judge’s decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit:

‘We are disappointed by Judge Hinkle’s ruling and disagree with his determination that the U.S. Constitution protects Big Tech’s censorship of certain individuals and content over others.’

Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) President Matt Schruers released this statement:

‘This decision upholding the Constitution and federal law is encouraging, and reaffirms what we have been saying: Florida’s statute is an extraordinary overreach, designed to penalize private businesses for their perceived lack of deference to the Government’s political ideology. The court’s ruling is a win for Internet users and the First Amendment.’

The judge was furious and wrote a sharp statement regarding the Florida law:

‘[It was] riddled with imprecision and ambiguity, [and it] does not survive strict scrutiny. It compels providers to host speech that violates their standards. Like prior First Amendment restrictions, this is an instance of burning the house to roast a pig.’

NetChoice and CCIA represent tech companies such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, among others and immediately filed a lawsuit challenging the law. Schruers called DeSantis’ comments “viewpoint-based.” Plus the “substantial factual support” made it clear that the law had been motivated strictly to meet a perceived high-tech liberal bias.

In addition, NetChoice Vice President and General Counsel Carl Szabo released a statement praising the judge’s decision:

‘America’s judiciary system is designed to protect our constitutional rights, and today’s ruling is no different, ensuring that Florida’s politically motivated law does not force Floridians to endure racial epithets, aggressive homophobia, pornographic material, beheadings, or other gruesome content just to use the Internet.’

Texas Senate legislators approved similar legislation, but its House voted the bill down. North Carolina and Louisiana lawmakers have also introduced similar bills. A number of other states have been considering like bills.

Until the makeup of the U.S. Senate and House shift, Democrats will continue to work on regulating the tech industry.

Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.

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