Federal Judge Allows Lawsuit Against Biden Admin's State Dept to Proceed

A federal judge in Texas has ruled that a lawsuit against the Biden administration's State Department can proceed, alleging unlawful funding of censorship technologies targeting conservative media outlets. The judge denied the administration's request to dismiss the suit and ordered expedited discovery in the case.

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Federal Judge Allows Lawsuit Against Biden Admin's State Dept to Proceed

Federal Judge Allows Lawsuit Against Biden Admin's State Dept to Proceed

A federal judge in Texas has ruled that a lawsuit against the Biden administration's State Department can proceed, alleging that it unlawfully funded censorship technologies that targeted conservative media outlets, including The Daily Wire and The Federalist, in violation of the First Amendment. U.S. District Judge Jeremy Kernodle denied the administration's request to dismiss the suit and ordered expedited discovery in the case.

The lawsuit, filed in December by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, The Daily Wire, and The Federalist, claims that the State Department used its Global Engagement Center to finance the development and promotion of left-wing media monitoring organizations, including NewsGuard and the UK-based Global Disinformation Index. The complaint argues that these organizations essentially work to blacklist conservative media outlets.

Why this matters: This lawsuit has significant implications for the protection of free speech and a free press in the United States, as it alleges that the government is using taxpayer dollars to censor certain viewpoints. If the allegations are proven true, it could set a dangerous precedent for government overreach and manipulation of the media landscape.

"Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press," Judge Kernodle's ruling begins, quoting the First Amendment. The judge cited allegations that the State Department's actions encouraged social media companies to deplatform The Daily Wire and The Federalist in violation of a Texas state law that prohibits censoring speech based on viewpoint.

Margot Cleveland, an attorney at the New Civil Liberties Alliance representing The Daily Wire and The Federalist, said: "That the Court opened his opinion by quoting the First Amendment is a valuable reminder of the stakes at issue." Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton stated: "The Biden administration made a reprehensible attempt to censor the American press with funding intended to monitor foreign propaganda, aiming to repress viewpoints the federal government disagreed with."

The Global Engagement Center was founded in 2011 to counter foreign propaganda, but the lawsuit alleges that taxpayer dollars were used to pay for services of companies that target conservative media outlets. NewsGuard and Global Disinformation Index have a history of targeting conservative media, and their blacklists are used by major advertising companies to de-monetize conservative and right-leaning media. The lawsuit contends that the State Department defendants, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and five other officials, unlawfully funded and promoted these organizations.

The judge's ruling allows the case to move forward, with expedited discovery ordered. The lawsuit argues that the State Department's alleged funding and promotion of censorship technologies violates the First Amendment's protection of freedom of speech and the press. The case highlights concerns about government overreach and the targeting of media outlets based on political viewpoint.

Key Takeaways

  • Federal judge in Texas allows lawsuit against Biden admin's State Department to proceed.
  • Lawsuit alleges State Department funded censorship tech targeting conservative media outlets.
  • Global Engagement Center accused of promoting left-wing media monitoring organizations.
  • Judge orders expedited discovery, citing potential First Amendment violations.
  • Case highlights concerns about government overreach and media censorship.