Mountain States Policy Center (MSPC) is teaming up with public policy experts from across the country to ask the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to prevent the national free-speech marketplace from being balkanized into 50+ regimes with varying and conflicting government regulation of online speech. The cases are NetChoice v. Paxton and Moody v. NetChoice.
The Center for Growth and Opportunity explains the importance of the case and why it took the lead in filing the amicus:
“Crucial free speech and platform regulation issues are at stake. As we argued in our Gonzalez v. Google brief, if the Court decides against NetChoice, marginalized, conservative voices will be diminished and U.S. economic growth slowed.
If the Court upholds these laws, then the United States’s national free-speech marketplace will be balkanized into 50+ regimes with varying and conflicting government regulation of online speech.
In some jurisdictions, social media sites could be forced to host unsavory speech and opinions coarsening the social media experience for the majority of users.
In other jurisdictions, state and local governments could be emboldened to further manipulate social media platform content to promote ideological allies and suppress opponents’ ideas.
These laws could further entrench the largest social media companies and limit smaller competitors. Big companies are the only ones that would have the resources to comply with dozens of state laws.
These cases have significant implications for how states can regulate major social media platforms, directly affecting digital communication and expression.”
The amicus brief notes:
“Amici curiae are The Center for Growth and Opportunity, Freedom Foundation of Minnesota, Illinois Policy Institute, Independence Institute, James Madison Institute, Libertas Institute, Mountain States Policy Center, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, Pelican Institute for Public Policy, R Street Institute, Rio Grande Foundation, and The John Locke Foundation.
Amici are educational and research organizations committed to the faithful interpretation of the Constitution, the rule of law, market economics, individual rights, and limited government. They write and train the public on topics including economic growth, innovation, and free speech. In the states where they operate, these organizations serve as some of the few, and at times the only, organized advocates of free-market policies and regulatory restraint.
Though well-intentioned, the state laws here flout these principles and will turn the internet into what has aptly been called a ‘splinternet’ of 50 state speech codes—balkanizing the country, confusing users, overburdening websites, and impoverishing public debate. Amici file this brief to explain why such state laws are both unconstitutional and unneeded.”
Although SCOTUS has yet to schedule oral arguments, the expectation is for the court to issue a ruling by the end of June 2024.