Ron DeSantis never backs down from a fight.
Now DeSantis may be headed for the most important battle of his career.
And Ron DeSantis is headed for a Supreme Court showdown after this shocking decision.
After Big Tech platforms deplatformed President Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation barring social media giants from banning political candidates for ideological reasons.
“Big Tech bureaucrats are not the arbiters of truth,” DeSantis wrote on social media in support of the bill. “Unaccountable oligarchs will no longer have the power to silence Floridians for challenging corporate media narratives or dissenting from the Silicon Valley orthodoxy. We the people of Florida will now hold Big Tech accountable.”
Big Tech immediately sued claiming that the law violated their First Amendment rights to censor speech.
A three-judge panel on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed and threw out large portions of the Florida law that fined Big Tech companies $250,000 per day for censoring political candidates.
“We hold that it is substantially likely that social-media companies — even the biggest ones — are ‘private actors’ whose rights the First Amendment protects,” Judge Kevin Newsom – a Trump appointee – wrote.
Newsom trotted out the well-worn – and controversial argument – that tech platforms have a constitutionally protected right to censor whatever speech they choose.
“No one has an obligation to contribute to or consume the content that the platforms make available,” Judge Newsom added. “And correlatively, while the Constitution protects citizens from governmental efforts to restrict their access to social media no one has a vested right to force a platform to allow her to contribute to or consume social-media content.”
“Put simply, with minor exceptions, the government can’t tell a private person or entity what to say or how to say it,” Judge Newsom continued.
A DeSantis spokesman slammed the decision in a statement noting the absurdity of the decisions holding that social media companies were not common carriers like the phone or mail companies – which are not allowed to censor political speech.
“The court’s central holding that social media platforms are similar to newspapers and parades, rather than common carriers that transmit others’ messages, is stupefying. Floridians know differently,” the statement said.
This case is likely headed for the Supreme Court.
That’s because the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed a similar law in Texas to stand.
And when there are disagreements in the circuit courts, the Supreme Court is highly likely to step in and review the questions.
If Governor DeSantis appeals, this could set up one of the most consequential cases in American history.
DeSantis Daily will keep you up-to-date on any new developments in this ongoing story.