Statement by the Liberty Justice Center Regarding the Supreme Court’s Recent Ruling on Government Officials and Social Media

March 18, 2024

The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that government officials violate First Amendment rights when they use their positions to censor critics by deleting others’ social media comments, blocking their accounts, or otherwise interfering with their speech online.

In Friday’s decision in Lindke v. Freed, the Supreme Court provided a legal test to determine whether a government official’s activity on social media qualifies as private, in which case the official may freely block users and delete posts, or official, in which case the First Amendment prohibits the official from censoring posts or blocking users based on the viewpoint or content of their speech.

The Court held that the First Amendment constrains an official’s ability to block and censor when the official both had “actual authority to speak on the State’s behalf” and “purported to exercise that authority when he spoke on social media.”

Following the ruling, the Liberty Justice Center issued a statement by President Jacob Huebert on X:

“The Supreme Court rightly concluded that the First Amendment forbids government officials from using their positions to silence critics—on social media or anywhere else.”

The Liberty Justice Center litigates in defense of Americans’ constitutional right to free speech across the country, recently standing up against school boards’ attempts to censor parents in Oregon and celebrating a victory for doctors’ First Amendment rights in California.

Read more about the Liberty Justice Center’s work to uphold the First Amendment here.


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