Tampa Free Press

TikTok Ban Faces First Amendment Challenge: Legal Briefs Filed, Court Date Set

July 2, 2024

(Tampa Free Press)—The Liberty Justice Center (LJC) is suing the federal government over the TikTok ban, claiming that it violates free speech rights.

Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Content Creators:

On June 6th, the LJC filed suit challenging the ban on behalf of “BASED Politics,” a group using TikTok to promote free-market ideas to younger audiences. The lawsuit argues the ban would silence these creators and countless others on the platform.

First Amendment Concerns Trump Data Security Claims:

The LJC argues justifications for the ban don’t hold water. Some cite the spread of certain political views, attempting censorship the First Amendment prohibits. Others claim data security concerns, but the Act doesn’t stop foreign governments from accessing data.

The LJC brief states, “The Act fails to protect data security… [E]ffective means exist that infringe less on free speech. Conversely, the Act silences specific ideas, as some of its sponsors intended.”

Combined Challenge, Amicus Briefs Show Broad Opposition:

The D.C. Court of Appeals combined the LJC’s suit with two others: one from TikTok and ByteDance, and another from creators. Oral arguments occur on September 16th. TikTok seeks a ruling by December 6th to allow Supreme Court appeal before the ban, if necessary.

Adding weight to the challenge, nine amicus briefs were filed in support. These come from diverse groups, including libertarian organizations like the Cato Institute, prominent law professors specializing in First Amendment rights, and social justice nonprofits. This broad support highlights the potential violation of free speech across the political spectrum.

“The proposed TikTok ban would shut down an important forum for political speech and the spread of ideas. And the law’s supporters in Congress admit that they voted for it for the most illegitimate reason possible: to suppress the spread of ideas they don’t like,” said Jacob Huebert, President of the Liberty Justice Center. “The Court must block this law before it goes into effect, or our client and the 170 million other Americans who use TikTok will be irreparably harmed.”

The Liberty Justice Center’s lawsuit against the federal TikTok ban, BASED Politics Inc. v. Garland, was filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on June 6, 2024. The Liberty Justice Center’s legal filings in the case are available here.