Competitive Enterprise Institute Attorney Devin Watkins praised the U.S. Supreme Court for agreeing to hear a lawsuit challenging government “jawboning,” pressuring private entities like social media companies to suppress the speech of people with politically disfavored views:
Today, the Supreme Court agreed to review cases involving the dangerous practice of government censorship that is exercised by way of threats and coercion to third parties — also known as “jawboning.” Jawboning is a kind of censorship by proxy, where innocent parties are forced into censorship of political views that the government disagrees with. The creation of new and clear lines that the government cannot cross are needed in this area, and the announcement of Supreme Court review is a welcome step.
The case is called National Rifle Association of America v. Vullo. The question granted was: Does the First Amendment allow a government regulator to threaten regulated entities with adverse regulatory actions if they do business with a controversial speaker, as a consequence of (a) the government’s own hostility to the speaker’s viewpoint or (b) a perceived “general backlash” against the speaker’s advocacy?
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