After two lower courts struck down parts of Florida’s controversial law that would allow politicians to sue social media companies that deplatformed them, the state wants the Supreme Court to intervene.
The law, signed in 2021, was intended to prohibit Facebook and Twitter from banning candidates for office regardless of the content they post.
The law makes it illegal for any social media website to ban a candidate running for state office in Florida for more than 14 days or face a $250,000 per day fine.
Governor Ron DeSantis (R) said the law, introduced after then-President Donald Trump was removed from Twitter, would guarantee Floridians “protection from Silicon Valley’s elites.”
A federal judge repealed the law in mid-2021 and it was endorsed by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in May this year, when a panel of three judges 67 page opinion unanimously reject the legal justification of the law, meaning it has not been enforced since its enactment.
Now Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody wants the nation’s highest court to rule on the matter. Moody filed a petition Wednesday urging the Supreme Court to hear the case, calling it an “ideal vehicle” to rule on the First Amendment surrounding social media sites.
Florida’s petition asks the court to decide whether the First Amendment prohibits states from forcing social media companies to host content they would otherwise block or ban. If the Court agrees to hear the case, it could have major implications for the future of social media censorship and democracy.
While the Florida law was scrapped by the 11th Circuit, a similar law in Texas was just… confirmed last month, with the 5th Circuit Court ruling that the law does not violate the First Amendment rights of social media companies.
Netchoice, a social media industry group that represents Meta, Google, Twitter and other technology companies, has a pronunciation expressing confidence that the Supreme Court would rule in their favor.
“We agree with Florida that the U.S. Supreme Court should hear this matter, and we are confident that websites’ First Amendment rights will be upheld,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel of NetChoice in the statement. “We look forward to seeing Florida in court and confirming the lower court’s decision. We have the Constitution and more than a century of precedents on our side.”