The order by a Louisiana-based federal judge broadly limiting executive branch communications with social media companies could cause "serious harm" by preventing the government from "engaging in a broad range of lawful and responsible conduct," they said. Biden administration lawyers in a motion filed Thursday with a federal appeals court.
The request to stay the order was the administration's first substantive response to a July 4 ruling by US District Judge Terry Doughty in Monroe.
Doughty, a conservative federal bench nominee under former President Donald Trump, issued an injunction Tuesday that prevents various government agencies and administration officials from meet or communicate with social media companies for the purpose of "in any way encouraging, lobbying, or inducing removal." , elimination, deletion or reduction of content that contains protected freedom of expression”.
The order also prohibits agencies and officials from pressuring social media companies "in any way" to try to suppress posts, raising questions about what officials might say in public forums.
Doughty's order bars the administration from taking such steps pending further argument in his court in a lawsuit brought by the Republican attorneys general in Missouri and Louisiana.
In their filing Thursday night in the US District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, attorneys led by Principal Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton called the order "ambiguous." They said it could prevent the Biden administration from "speaking out on issues of public interest and working with social media companies on initiatives to prevent serious harm to the American people and our democratic processes."
They said: “These immediate and continuing damages to the Government outweigh any risk of injury to Plaintiffs if a stay is granted.”
Critics of the ruling say it could hamper attempts to silence misinformation on issues including healthcare and elections. Supporters of the order say it prevents the government from illegally censoring views.