Free Speech Arguments – Episode 3: Murthy v. Missouri

The Free Speech Arguments Podcast brings you oral arguments from important First Amendment free political speech cases across the country. Find us on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

March 18, 2024   •  By IFS Staff   •    •  

Episode 3: Murthy v. Missouri

Vivek H. Murthy, Surgeon General, et al. v. Missouri, et al., argued before the Supreme Court of the United States on March 18, 2024.

From the Brief for the Petitioners:

Respondents are two States and five individual users of social-media platforms who allege that the federal government transformed the private platforms’ content-moderation decisions into state action and violated the First Amendment by communicating with the platforms about content moderation and responding to the platforms’ inquiries about matters of public health.

From the Brief for the Respondents:

This Court “has rarely,” if ever, “faced … a coordinated campaign of this magnitude orchestrated by federal officials that jeopardized a fundamental aspect of American life.” The federal Petitioners (“Defendants”) “have engaged in a broad pressure campaign designed to coerce social-media companies into suppressing speakers, viewpoints, and content disfavored by the government.”
Having trampled the free-speech rights of “millions” of Americans, Defendants now complain that this Court cannot stop them because the government must be allowed to speak freely. This argument flips the First Amendment on its head…. Defendants would have this Court protect the government’s campaign to constrain private actors. The government can speak freely on any topic it chooses, but it cannot pressure and coerce private companies to censor ordinary Americans.”

Questions Presented:

(1) Whether respondents have Article III standing;
(2) Whether the government’s challenged conduct transformed private social-media companies’ content-moderation decisions into state action and violated respondents’ First Amendment rights; and
(3) Whether the terms and breadth of the preliminary injunction are proper.


Listen to the argument here:


IFS Staff

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