During the run-up to the Dipshit Insurrection, Team Trump lost every challenge to the 2020 election in federal court. Even Trump appointees slapped down the specious cases presented by red state attorney generals. It’s a good thing that the Trump appointed Chief Judge of the Western District of Louisiana didn’t hear any of those cases. He’s become infamous for his nutty and wrongheaded rulings. And that is why Judge Terry Doughty is malaka of the week.
“I’m honored to have this job,” said Doughty, a Louisiana Tech University graduate who has lived in Rayville his whole life. “I love this country, and I pledge to be fair and open-minded.
“I’ll follow the law no matter my personal opinion and rule quickly.”
Really? He’s neither fair nor open-minded. He certainly didn’t follow the law and disregard his personal opinion in the appalling opinion he wrote in the social media case. Oddly enough, it was released on Independence Day. Federal judges don’t usually issue opinions on holidays, but Doughty had to show off for his fellow wingnuts. His opinion in Missouri vs. Biden was so long, 155 pages, that it looks like he’s angling for a promotion to the 5th Circuit if, heaven forbid, the GOP wins the 2024 presidential election.
In his opinion, Judge Malaka confused jawboning with censorship. It’s not censorship for the federal government to urge social media outlets to combat disinformation. Repeat after me: It’s called jawboning. Let’s consult with our old buddy the dictionary:
the use of public appeals (as by a president) to influence the actions especially of business and labor leadersbroadly : the use of spoken persuasion”
That’s what the Biden administration did: they used spoken persuasion. They did not censor anything.
In a must-read piece at Slate, Larry Tribe and Leah Litman dissect and destroy Judge Malaka’s fakakta opinion. Here’s a sample:
“But if we had to choose, the most egregious facet of the decision would probably be the breathtaking scope of the district court’s order. The injunction would insulate social media companies from criticism about their content moderation policies, not just from coercion. The district court blithely announces that it “believes that an injunction can be narrowly tailored to only affect prohibited activities,” but then goes on to issue an injunction that does no such thing. Among other things, the district court’s order prohibits the myriad government defendants from “emailing, calling, sending letters, texting, or engaging in any communication of any kind with social-media companies urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner for removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech.” (Emphasis added.) It also prevents government defendants from “meeting with social-media companies” about the same. They are not allowed to flag certain content or posts, or notify companies to be on the lookout for certain posts.”
Judge Malaka doesn’t see it that way:
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, a period perhaps best characterized by widespread doubt and uncertainty, the United States Government seems to have assumed a role similar to an Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth,’”
Say what? Keep George Orwell’s name out of your dirty mouth, Doughty.
“The judge’s decision cites a wide range of topics that he says “all were suppressed” on social media at the urging of administration officials, including opposition to Covid vaccines, masking, lockdowns and the lab-leak theory; opposition to the validity of the 2020 election; opposition to President Joe Biden’s and other officials’ policies; and statements claiming that the story surrounding a laptop belonging to Biden’s son Hunter Biden was true.
Each topic “suppressed” was a conservative view, which “is quite telling,” Doughty declared.
“This targeted suppression of conservative ideas is a perfect example of viewpoint discrimination of political speech,” he continued. “American citizens have the right to engage in free debate about the significant issues affecting the country … the evidence produced thus far depicts an almost dystopian scenario.”
This ridiculously overbroad ruling is yet another reason to stop calling Judge Malaka and his ilk conservatives. There’s nothing conservative about this ruling: it’s right-wing boilerplate in defense of lies and disinformation. It’s a gag order that makes me gag.
The red state attorney generals who filed this case lacked standing, which is why they went forum shopping. I still prefer that phrase to judge shopping but in either case, this lawsuit would have been thrown out by any sentient judge. I read the whole opinion, so you didn’t have to; to say that it’s rambling and unhinged is an understatement. Freedom, man.
Repeat after me: It’s jawboning, not censorship. And that is why Judge Terry Doughty is malaka of the week.
The last word goes to The Band followed by Tim Finn: