This decision follows lower court rulings that accused government officials of collaborating with these companies to suppress speech.
The order is a result of a lawsuit filed by state attorneys general from Missouri and Louisiana. The suit alleges that senior government officials collaborated with major social media corporations "under the guise of combating misinformation," leading to the suppression of speech on topics such as Hunter Biden’s laptop, the origins of COVID-19, and the effectiveness of face masks.
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey believes the Supreme Court's review could indicate the justices' recognition of these as "the worst First Amendment violations in this nation's history." He asserts that this issue must be addressed by the nation's highest court.
Bailey, a Republican, aims to establish a "permanent wall of separation between tech and state to preserve our right to free speech." He claims that despite reviewing 20,000 documents and conducting numerous depositions, the attorneys general have only begun to uncover what he describes as a "vast censorship enterprise."
Earlier this year, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals imposed a temporary injunction on the Biden administration. The court found the government likely violated the Free Speech Clause by encouraging social media platforms to censor content. Bailey stated, "[W]e need to build a wall of separation between tech and state, and a nationwide preliminary injunction is the first brick in that wall."
The court recently stated that the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) within the Department of Homeland Security "used its frequent interactions with social-media platforms to push them to adopt more restrictive policies on censoring election-related speech."
The injunction significantly restricts communication between federal agencies and Big Tech. The Justice Department appealed the injunction to the Supreme Court, arguing that the government faced "irreparable harm" as the order could hinder the federal government from collaborating with social media companies on initiatives to prevent significant harm to the American public and democratic processes.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments from both parties on whether the injunction should remain in effect while the lower courts decide the case based on its merits. A majority of the justices agreed that the injunction should be temporarily lifted until they can hear the case.
However, Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch argued that the injunction should have remained in place. Bailey believes this indicates the "court understands the grave importance of the issues in this case."
Bailey also disputes the Department of Justice's argument that an injunction would have a "chilling effect," calling it "dripping with irony." He argues that there is a clear distinction between federal officials "overseeing and controlling" social media posts and President Biden conveying his message from the podium.
The Supreme Court is expected to establish a briefing schedule and set a date for oral arguments in the upcoming weeks.