Paxton secured a major victory for the Constitution, free speech against Big Tech

Attorney General Paxton won a major victory for the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit based in New Orleans on behalf of Texans and free speech advocates across the country. The Fifth Circuit reversed a federal district court’s ruling that blocked HB 20, a Texas law that barred social media networks from censoring users based on views posted online. The law creates several requirements for platforms to disclose to the public how they operate and requires users to have an internal process to complain about censorship decisions.

After the district court struck down HB 20, a Fifth Circuit panel vacated the order in early May. The United States Supreme Court reinstated the order following an emergency motion and sent the case to the Fifth Circuit.

“Big Tech’s endless reign of censorship and suppression of conservative views is coming to an end,” said Attorney General Paxton. “These corporate giants cannot continue unchecked as they destroy the votes of millions of Americans. HB 20 was designed to ensure every Texan’s First Amendment rights are fully expressed, and the court made the right decision to uphold the law.

Addressing some of the district court’s concerns, the Fifth Circuit upheld the Texas law on constitutional grounds, saying that the First Amendment does not allow forums to “editorially decide” to arbitrarily screen diverse viewpoints. The court has upheld the state’s authority to prevent discrimination on social media and has argued that anti-censorship laws like HB 20 are consistent with the First Amendment because they regulate company behavior, not speech.

As the court stated in its opinion: [Big Tech] Forums debate is amazing. In the forums’ view, email providers, cell phone companies, and banks can delete the account of anyone who sends emails, makes phone calls, or spends money to support an unpopular political party, candidate, or business. . . . Today we reject the idea that corporations have a First Amendment right to free will to censor what people say.

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