A federal judge is slated to decide the fate of Former President Donald Trump’s class-action lawsuits against YouTube and Twitter.
Trump’s briefs in opposition to motions to dismiss are currently pending before U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in the Northern District of California after the case was transferred from the Southern District of Florida.
“They are state actors and Congress basically delegated what they couldn’t do themselves, which is censorship, and therefore they have violated free speech rights under the First Amendment,” said Trump’s lead attorney John Coale.
Trump first sued after YouTube and Twitter de-platformed him. The lawsuits ask Judge White to declare certain sections of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996 unconstitutional.
“If they can get away with censoring the President of the United States, then they can censor anybody they want to for any reason,” Coale said in an interview. “That’s what we’re worried about.”
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) provides immunity to online platforms, freeing them from liability for third-party content posted on their site.
“Democrat legislators feared the Plaintiff’s skilled use of social media as a threat to their own re-election efforts,” the complaint against Twitter states. “These legislators exerted overt coercion using both words and actions to coerce Defendants to censor the views and content that Democrat members of Congress disagreed with expressed by both the Plaintiff and the putative class members.”
The lawsuits request preliminary injunctions that would restore Trump’s ability to post on the social media sites; however, Judge White has not ruled on those motions.
“The lawsuit is about preventing these companies from picking and choosing,” Coale added. “I don’t even know if he wants to get back on YouTube, but he should have the opportunity to be on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube, just like everybody else, and not to be censored.”
Trump has since launched his own social media site called Truth Social, according to media reports, and former Trump aide Jason Miller has founded GETTR, a conservative social media site similar to Twitter.
“Things are changing so fast in the technology sector,” Coale told The Dallas Express. “I don’t know if GETTR, for example, will become the major social media. These sites seem to come and go a lot. So, it’s hard to predict what precedent will be set.”
Trump also sued Facebook, alleging deceptive and unfair trade practices and violations of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
“On January 7th, 2021, defendants indefinitely banned the sitting President of the United States from their platform for exercising his constitutional right of free speech,” the complaint states.
It continues, “Defendants then served warnings to members of President Trump’s family, Team Trump, other Facebook users, and putative class members that its ban extends to anyone attempting to post Donald J. Trump’s voice. Censorship runs rampant against the putative class members and the result is a chilling effect cast over our nation’s pressing political, media, social and cultural discussions.”
All three lawsuits are pending.
“We’re waiting, waiting, waiting,” Coale said. “The judge is figuring out what to do.”