The Lawfare Podcast: The Supreme Court Blocks the Texas Social Media Law

By Jen Patja Howell
Thursday, June 9, 2022, 5:01 AM

On May 31, by a five-four vote, the Supreme Court blocked a Texas law from going into effect that would have sharply limited how social media companies could moderate their platforms and required companies to abide by various transparency requirements. We’ve covered the law on this show before—we recorded an episode right after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit allowed Texas to implement the law, in the same ruling that the Supreme Court just vacated. But there’s enough interesting stuff in the Supreme Court’s order—and in Justice Samuel Alito’s dissent—that we thought it was worth another bite at the apple. 

So this week on Arbiters of Truth, our series on the online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic invited Genevieve Lakier, professor of law at the University of Chicago and Evelyn’s colleague at the Knight First Amendment Institute, to walk us through just what happened. What exactly did the Supreme Court do? Why does Justice Alito seem to think that the Texas law has a decent chance of surviving a First Amendment challenge? And what does this suggest about the possible futures of the extremely unsettled landscape of First Amendment law?