5th Circuit blocks Texas social media law as parties turn to SCOTUS


Texas had agreed to the motion as long as the tech groups don’t seek more time to file their petition to the Supreme Court, a previous court filing said. The tech trade groups have until December to file that petition.

Next step — SCOTUS: NetChoice and CCIA had requested in a Sept. 29 motion that the 5th Circuit press pause on H.B. 20 while they ask the Supreme Court to take up the underlying case. The trade groups — which represent Facebook, Twitter and Google — are appealing a Sept. 16 ruling from the 5th Circuit that upheld the Texas law.

NetChoice and CCIA say the September ruling conflicts with a May ruling by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which declared that a similar Florida law banning the removal of political candidates from social media platforms largely violated tech companies’ constitutional protections.

In a 5-4 ruling in May, the Supreme Court had previously blocked the Texas law from going into effect in response to a previous emergency request by NetChoice and CCIA, based off an earlier 5th Circuit decision last spring.

Tech group rejoices: Tech companies say they fear the Texas law would force them to carry content — like hate speech and extremist views — that violates their content moderation policies.

“Because Texas H.B. 20 would bury the internet in vile content, we’re relieved that it will remain enjoined until the case can be heard by the Supreme Court,” Chris Marchese, NetChoice’s counsel, said in a statement.

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