In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s stay of a temporary injunction in NetChoice, LLC v. Paxton, a closely watched case involving a novel Texas law purporting to bar “social media platforms” from engaging in “viewpoint” discrimination. The majority did not issue a written opinion, but Justice Samuel Alito authored a dissent that was joined by Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Neil Gorsuch. The May 31, 2022, ruling is a win for the world’s largest online social media platforms, albeit a temporary one. The decision reinstates a temporary injunction barring the Texas attorney general from enforcing the Texas law, known as H.B. 20. The decision does not prevent users from suing covered platforms under H.B. 20’s private right of action.
This update summarizes the Texas law, the history of the litigation leading to the Supreme Court’s decision, and the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday. It also briefly forecasts the near future for state and private enforcement of H.B. 20.