On Monday, May 24th, 2021, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed SB 7072, his “anti-bias” law, in a move designed to fire a major volley at America’s leading businesses and rally the “America first” base.
By juxtaposing heartfelt stories about the dangers of authoritarianism with a bill capitalizing on the anti-tech fervor and alleged anti-conservative bias online, DeSantis painted a picture of a humble bill meant to protect Florida citizens’ free speech online.
Unfortunately if enacted, the social media bill will restrict, not bolster, free speech online. For this reason, we took the step to challenge SB 7072 on multiple constitutional grounds to protect Florida consumers, small businesses, and free speech.
NetChoice and CCIA have sued the State of Florida to enjoin and invalidate SB 7072 to defend the First Amendment and other constitutional rights of private businesses.
NetChoice and CCIA filed suit to enjoin and invalidate SB 7072 and defend the First Amendment and other constitutional rights of private businesses on May 27th, 2021.
The NetChoice and CCIA lawsuit explained that:
- The Act brazenly infringes and facially violates the First Amendment rights of America’s leading businesses by compelling them to host even highly objectionable content that is not appropriate for all viewers, violates their terms of service, or conflicts with the companies’ policies and beliefs.
- The Act does not prevent censorship but makes the State the supervisor of online conduct and morals, overriding the community guidelines of online businesses in violation of the First Amendment.
- The Act further violates the First Amendment and Equal Protection Clause by arbitrarily favoring popular and larger businesses like Disney and Universal Studios from its scope simply because they own well-attended “theme parks” while irrationally targeting also popular social media companies for speech restrictions and disfavored governmental treatment.
NetChoice and CCIA filed a motion for preliminary injunction on June 4th, 2021.
NetChoice press release, “NetChoice Co-Files Preliminary Injunction Following Florida Social Media Lawsuit.”
Further court documents for the motion for preliminary injunction filed June 4th, 2021.
- Plaintiffs’ reply brief in support of the motion for preliminary injunction.
- Defendant’s response in opposition to the plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction.
- Memorandum of law for a motion for a preliminary injunction.
- Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction.
- Declaration from Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel of NetChoice
- Declaration from Matt Schruers, President of CCIA.
Third-party support of the motion for preliminary injunction.
- Declaration from Alexandra Veitch of YouTube.
- Declaration from Stacie Rumenap of Stop Child Predators.
- Declaration from Servando Esparza of TechNet.
- Declaration from Corinne Pavlovic of Etsy.
- Declaration from Neil Potts of Facebook.
- Amicus brief from Chamber of Progress, Connected Commerce Council, Consumer Technology Association, Engine, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, National Black Justice.
- Amicus brief from TechFreedom.
NetChoice and CCIA were Granted their Preliminary Injunction on June 30th, 2021.
NetChoice Press Statement: “Northern District of Florida’s Order Preliminary Enjoins Unconstitutional Law.”
CCIA Press Statement: “Judge Grants Preliminary Injunction Blocking Unconstitutional Florida Law.”
Northern District of Florida, Tallahassee Division, Trial Court Ruling provided on June 30th, 2021.
As of August 30th, 2021, NetChoice and CCIA were granted their request to stay the district court proceedings while the 11th Circuit decides.
Judge’s Ruling: Order Stay Proceedings
On November 8th, 2021, NetChoice and CCIA appealed to the 11th Circuit for the Northern District of Florida
On April 28 2022, NetChoice and CCIA, represented by former Solicitor General Paul D. Clement, argued against the State of Florida in the 11th Circuit.
On May 23 2022, the 11th Circuit released their decision upholding the District Court’s granting of our preliminary injunction.
Florida’s businesses and technology companies have worked hard to create a safe internet, free from harmful and downright offensive content. SB 7072 is nothing more than a political move to garner national support from those upset with Donald Trump’s removal from digital platforms.