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Supreme Court Adds a Dozen Cases, Will Rule on Social Media Law

On the eve of a fresh term, the Supreme Court adds important cases.

The Supreme Court added twelve cases to its docket for the upcoming term. The start of the High Court’s calendar is the beginning of October, and the first case of the term will be heard on Monday the second. Justices published the result of their first meeting since breaking for the Summer on Friday, September 29. The dozen additions include blockbuster social media free speech regulations, the right to develop land without confiscatory regulations, and a no-fly list suit against the FBI.

You Can’t Say I Can’t Say That!

The justices granted review in Moody v. NetChoice and NetChoice v. Paxton. These two cases came from Florida and Texas laws governing social media companies’ silencing and canceling users on their platforms. Florida passed the Stop Social Media Censorship Act, which keeps social media companies from banning political candidates’ accounts and protecting “journalistic enterprises.” Texas passed a law preventing social media platforms with at least 50 million active users from blocking, removing, or “demonetizing” content based on the users’ views.

The Supreme Court gave favor to the amicus brief of Biden’s Solicitor General, Elisabeth Prelogar, who wrote both laws “restrict platforms’ ability to engage in content moderation by removing, editing, or arranging user-generated content; require platforms to provide individualized explanations for certain forms of content moderation.” Justices said the questions they would settle come from her brief, answering whether the restrictions themselves, or the explanations required, violated the companies’ First Amendment rights to speak freely.

Not Sheetz v. Wawa

Sheetz v. County of El Dorado pits George Sheetz against a county that tried to soak him for nearly $24k because they could. Mr. Sheetz applied to county authorities for a permit to “build a modest manufactured house on his property.” Like a Soprano’s crime family ultimatum, the county said they would give him the permit, but only if he paid $23,420 to “finance unrelated road improvements.” Baby needs a new pair of shoes, indeed.

New banner Legal Affairs with ScottUnder local and state law, county officials say they have the legal right to stop development until landowners submit to their will. It was an offer Sheetz could and did refuse. He sued, and now the case has worked its way up to the Supreme Court, where justices have agreed to decide whether the county’s threat is legal. The county may have violated the Fifth Amendment’s taking clause, or because of the law they operated under, the Court may rule Sheetz’s challenge should not continue.

A Fly in the Ointment

Let’s say you are added to the dreaded no-fly list. You can’t travel freely because of the government designation, haven’t done anything wrong, and so you sue. The government removes you from the list sometime later and between appeals. Can you continue your suit? What if the government promises not to add you to the list in the future without some new evidence? That’s the issue in FBI v. Fikre. Will Mr. Fikre be able to continue his claims against the Bureau? The court will decide that and 33 other cases this term and the cases they add as the session progresses.

Read More From Scott D. Cosenza, Esq.

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