7 States assert injury under Article III of the Constitution

These States argue for appellate court to uphold Doughty’s Injunction. Verbal arguments related to the appeal will be heard on August 10th, 2023.

In a post on ūĚēŹ made by Tracy Beanz, she reported that conservative States had filed a Brief of Amicus Curiae, voicing their support for the temporary injunction Judge Doughty granted to the Plaintiffs.

This temporary injunction would block the federal government and big tech companies from colluding to censor American’s protected speech. The Defendants (the Feds) have appealed this injunction, effectively arguing they should be allowed to censor Americans. 

Seven States jointly file Amicus Brief

Seven States filed a 35-page Amicus Brief where they argued for the appeals court to uphold the injunction.

Page 2: Interested Persons

Amicus briefs are legal briefs filed in appellate courts by individuals or groups who are not directly involved in a legal case, but have expertise or insight to offer a court to assist in making its decision. They are submitted in a specific case under review and show the court that its final decision will impact people other than the parties directly involved.

In addition to the States that are covered in this article, Florida has also filed their own brief. Not only that, but Judicial Watch has now filed a brief on behalf of Rep. Jim Jordan and eleven members of the Judiciary Committee and the Select Committee on Weaponization of Government.

They condemned the actions of the executive branch under Biden’s leadership, and asserted they are not only an injured party in the Missouri v Biden lawsuit, but that they have standing to defend the Rights of their citizens.

Here are the states as listed in the filing:

  • South Carolina
  • Montana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Nebraska
  • Idaho¬†
  • Utah

Interests, Injuries, and Arguments

The brief asserts that each state was injured in at least two ways.

Page 8: Interests of Amici Curiae ‚ÄĒ states the areas where the future ruling will have an affect

In the Interests of Amici Curiae section, the States assert that the censorship of posts due to pressure from the federal government violated their citizen’s and government official’s 1st Amendment Rights. 

Social media platforms provide perhaps the most powerful mechanisms available to a private citizen to make his or her voice heard, and they enable citizens to petition their elected representatives and other-wise engage with them in a direct manner.

The other asserts that the State’s quasi-sovereign interest, of hearing and engaging with the opinions of their citizens on matters of enormous public interest, is being undermined. 

Quasi-Sovereign means any entity fully guaranteed by a sovereign or more than 50% directly or indirectly owned by a Sovereign.

The rights of speech and petition are vital to the democratic process for citizens and government officials alike- because they foster the public exchange of ideas that is integral to deliberative democracy. Without that robust exchange of ideas, deliberative democracy, and all its attendant benefits, will wither and die.

The States argue they are also entitled to a redress of grievances under Article III injuries, thus making the outcome of this trial pertinent to the States quasi-sovereignty, and their citizen’s Constitutional Rights. 

Page 9: Summary of Arguments

By this stage in the case (even with limited-discovery), the courts have shown that federal officials conducted and engaged in a years-long censorship campaign with regards to Covid-19, Covid-19 vaccines, election integrity, and other highly contested issues. 

It’s been established that the White House, and other entities stemming from the Executive Branch called for the censorship of public officials, medical professionals, journalists, and American citizens speech when they expressed disfavored viewpoints. This is the foundation for their argument suggesting the States have standing per Constitutional Rights violations.

Article III and how it pertains to this case 

Article III, Section 2, Clause 1:

‚ÄúThe Judicial Power shall extend to all Cases‚Ķ arising under this Constitution‚Ķ the Laws of the United States‚Ķ to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party; ‚Ķto all Cases affecting and between a State and Citizens of another State, between Citizens of different States‚Ķ and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.‚ÄĚ

Page 12: Article III arguments

What this Article of the Constitution does is allows for the Judicial Power of a Federal Court to¬†“serve to prevent the judicial process from being used to usurp the powers of the political branches.”

According to the information held at constitution.congress.gov, the Supreme Court has previously recognized certain prudential limitations on the exercise of federal courts’ jurisdiction, which, although lacking constitutional status, may nonetheless result in a courts’ refusal to hear a case:

  1. When the litigant seeks to assert the rights of third parties not before the court. 
  2. When the litigant seeks redress for a generalized grievance widely shared by a large number of citizens.
  3. When the litigant challenges government action or inaction and its asserted interests do not fall within the zone of interests arguably protected or regulated by the statute or constitutional provision underlying its claims.

However, the analysis goes on to state that ‚Äúin recent years, the Court has questioned the basis of the doctrine of prudential standing.¬†The Court has suggested that the bar on generalized grievances is a constitutional (and not prudential) requirement.‚ÄĚ

States present instances of their own official’s posts being censored as a result of the government’s influence over moderation policy
Another YouTube video of public meetings was removed due to opinions expressed by citizens regarding mask mandates

In regards to standing related to well-established actions of the Federal Government in the Missouri v Biden Lawsuit, the States argue they have suffered concrete and particularized Article III injuries when their own social-media posts were censored due to federal pressure on social media platforms.

In one instance, the Louisiana Department of Justice shared video footage on YouTube that criticized mask mandates and COVID-19 measures, and the video was removed in August 2021 immediately following Defendants’ advocacy for COVID related misinformation censorship.

Standing on behalf of citizens due to quasi-sovereign interests

Additional arguments made by the States suggested censoring speech of their citizens on social media is directly related to their quasi-sovereign interest. But, what does this mean?

States argue a ‚Äėcommon interest‚Äô between the state and a third party is necessary, and that one does in fact exist in this case

It‚Äôs arguing that it is of utmost importance for government entities to have their ‚Äúfinger on the pulse‚ÄĚ of public opinion regarding issues related to public interest. One mechanism used to gauge where their constituents stand on certain issues, is social media platforms.¬†

The thought process is, that if the Federal Government removes content, or suspends users without constitutional grounds to do so, it directly hinders the State‚Äôs ability to discern public opinion ‚ÄĒ such opinions being tantamount to a function democracy. This would in-turn lower the quality of representation the general public is receiving due to the State‚Äôs subsequent lack of insight and ability to take action on behalf of their constituents interests.

Essentially, in this instance, both the State and its citizens will have interests in a favorable ruling. For the State to have standing in federal court, it must have separate interests that pertain to its quasi-sovereignty. 

However, for the State to assert standing over its citizen’s interests, it must have a quasi-sovereign interest in protecting whatever constitutionally protected activity is being subverted. They believe they meet this criteria.

For these reasons, the States argue that they in-fact have standing in this lawsuit, and they conclude that the court should deny the Defendant’s appeal.

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