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NetChoice & CCIA v. Paxton (Texas)

Key Takeaways:
  • NetChoice and CCIA filed suit to enjoin and invalidate HB 20 and defend the First Amendment and other constitutional rights of private businesses on September 22, 2021.
  • The Fifth Circuit's rulings on this case conflict with similar rulings in NetChoice v. Moody in the Eleventh Circuit.
  • The Supreme Court of the United States has granted this case a writ of certiorari. Oral arguments will be in 2024.
What's At Stake
  • The First Amendment is under attack in Texas, where the government wishes to force websites to host political content they would otherwise remove.
  • Sites have the right to be able to take down harmful user posts to protect their users.
Case Brief

Case Status: In Progress

Latest Update: 01/22/2023

Steven P. Lehotsky Scott A. Keller Jonathan D. Urick Jeremy Evan Maltz Gabriela Gonzalez-Araiza Matthew H. Frederick Todd Disher

Lehotsky Keller LLP

  • District Court
    9/22/21 NetChoice & CCIA File the Initial Complaint
  • District Court
    10/01/21 NetChoice & CCIA File Request for Preliminary Injunction
  • District Court
    12/01/21 HB 20 is enjoined; AG may not enforce
  • 5th Circuit Appeals Court
    5/11/22 5th Cir. lifts injunction without opinion
  • Supreme Court of the United States
    5/31/22 SCOTUS restores injunction
  • 5th Circuit Appeals Court
    9/16/22 5th Cir. lifts injunction (again) with opinion
  • 5th Circuit Appeals Court
    9/29/22 5th Cir. grants NetChoice motion; blocks TX from enforcing HB 20
  • Supreme Court of the United States
    12/15/22 NetChoice & CCIA petition SCOTUS to hear NetChoice v. Paxton
  • Supreme Court of the United States
    09/29/23 SCOTUS grants cert in NetChoice & CCIA v. Paxton
  • Supreme Court of the United States
    02/26/24 SCOTUS will hear oral arguments in this case

Internet platforms have a First Amendment right to curate content and decide whether to host specific instances of speech as they see fit. HB 20 does not prevent censorship but empowers the state of Texas to police and control speech online, overriding the First Amendment rights of online businesses.

The law also tramples the First Amendment by allowing the government to force private businesses to host speech they don’t want to and discriminates against specific speakers by only targeting businesses over a certain size.

NetChoice Experts on HB 20

Chris Marchese

Link to bio

Carl Szabo

Link to bio

Paul Taske

Link to Bio

Court Filings

District Court

Fifth Circuit Court

  • The State of Texas’ Opening Brief in 5th Circuit appealing the District Court’s ruling on the preliminary injunction.
  • NetChoice & CCIA Opening Brief
  • NetChoice & CCIA’s Response to Texas’ Opening Brief
  • Texas’s Response to NetChoice & CCIA’s Opening Brief
  • The Fifth Circuit’s Order.

Emergency Request to SCOTUS

The Fifth Circuit reversed the preliminary injunction in this ruling but agreed to NetChoice & CCIA’s request to stay the motion pending cert from SCOTUS.

  • NetChoice & CCIA petitioned the Supreme Court to hear NetChoice v. Paxton. 
  • Texas response to NetChoice’s petition for certiorari.
  • NetChoice Reply Brief.
  • Solicitor General’s brief.
  • Texas reply to Solicitor General’s brief.
  • NetChoice reply to Solicitor General’s brief.
  • On 9/29/23, SCOTUS granted Cert in NetChoice v. Paxton.