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US Supreme Court Takes On Immunity For Tech Giants

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The US Supreme Court will hear a quarter-century-old law this week that has protected tech companies from lawsuits and prosecution for content posted by their users. The ruling is being closely watched as it could upend rules that have governed the internet.

“Section 230 is seen as a fundamental law of the internet and considered inviolable by its staunch defenders. Section 230 was part of the Communication Decency Act, an anti-pornography law signed in 1996, that helped set the rules of the road for the internet, which was still in its infancy as an online playground for all. The idea was to protect the then embryonic internet sector from cascading lawsuits and to allow it to flourish while encouraging tech companies to moderate their content,” Breitbart reported.

“At the time most of the attention went on limits put on sexual content, a part of the bill that was backed by then-president Bill Clinton and that was later struck down by the Supreme Court in a landmark case. But inserted into the legislation was Section 230 which stated that ‘no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher’ or hold responsibility for the content that came from an outside party. Under the protection of Section 230, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube became the conduits of a world conversation without ever being at risk of a lawsuit by someone taking offense at a tweet or a controversial video,” the outlet added.

The Supreme Court also recently heard arguments in a closely-watched immigration case that could set a major precedent.

The Biden administration was questioned over its assumed authority to decide which people in the country illegally they can deport first. A pair of Republican attorneys general from Texas and Louisiana argued that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is violating federal immigration laws in doing so.

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The nation’s highest court is considering a trio of issues distinct to the case and while it’s unclear which way the justices might swing, some did appear to chastise the Biden administration’s arguments.

“At the heart of the dispute is a September 2021 memo from Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas that laid out priorities for the arrest, detention, and deportation of certain non-citizens, reversing efforts by former President Donald Trump to increase deportations,” CNN reported. “Several of the conservative justices on Tuesday seemed ready to rule in favor of the states on a major threshold issue: whether Texas and Louisiana had the legal right to bring the challenge in the first place.”

In addressing whether the DHS guidelines were in conflict with two provisions of federal law, Justices John Roberts, Samuel Alito, and Brett Kavanaugh cited that the law does note some immigrants “shall” be taken into custody or removed from the country, which appeared to suggest they were skeptical of the Biden administration’s assumed discretion.

“Shall means shall,” Roberts said. “Shouldn’t we just say what we think the law is,” he added while suggesting it ought to be left to other branches to “sort that out.”

The case was accepted by the Supreme Court after a district court judge blocked the DHS’s discretion in the matter.

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“Using the words ‘discretion’ and ‘prioritization’ the Executive Branch claims the authority to suspend statutory mandates,” ruled U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton, a Trump appointee on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. “The law does not sanction this approach.”

In April, former Trump adviser Stephen Miller, who focused a great deal on the former administration’s immigration mandates, said President Joe Biden’s reversals of his predecessor’s policies created chaos along the U.S.-Mexico border and are “impeachable.”

During an interview on Fox News, Miller said that Biden has “rubbished and trashed” the immigration system in the United States, arguing that Biden’s handling of immigration was “completely impeachable.”

“What this president has done is he has turned Congress into a mere suggestion box,” Miller protested.

“The entire Immigration and Nationality Act, which governs who can enter our country, how you apply for a visa, what rules you have to comply with, where you have to apply from — that entire system has been rubbished and trashed by this president as though he were an emperor. And so, it is completely impeachable,” he added.

“My organization has been involved in a number of lawsuits against his policies, and in each of those lawsuits, we lay out how he has violated the clear command of Congress and the clear command of the Constitution,” he continued.

“One of those cases that we litigated in partnership with Texas we won on Title 42. Another one, with respect to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he has been found to have broken the law again and again and again. And so yes, these are impeachable crimes, absolutely, especially because he has not complied with the court injunctions when he loses these lawsuits,” Miller concluded.

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