WASHINGTON – Last week, Senator Eric Schmitt introduced the Censorship Accountability Act, to preserve Americans’ First Amendment rights and give citizens the ability to hold the Administrative State accountable:
“The Biden Administration’s brazen collusion with social media companies to censor speech should frighten every American regardless of their political affiliation. When I served as Missouri’s Attorney General, I filed the landmark Missouri v. Biden lawsuit, which exposed all of this censorship. Now, I’m taking action to ensure that it never happens again. This legislation would allow citizens to hold individual bureaucrats accountable if they collude with social media companies to censor speech. I’ve already filed legislation that would hold the social media companies accountable if they censor speech, now I’m working to hold the federal government actors accountable,” saidSenator Eric Schmitt.
“Freedom of speech is the bedrock principle of our nation. Unfortunately, many malicious actors, especially federal bureaucrats, are bent on undermining the First Amendment and censoring Americans at every turn. Current law allows government agents to censor and suppress free speech with little recourse for those being silenced. Our bill will change that by finally allowing Americans to sue federal employees who violate their First Amendment rights. The Censorship Industrial Complex should no longer be allowed to operate with impunity, and those who seek to destroy the freedom of speech should have to answer for it in a court of law,” said Representative Dan Bishop.
“The First Amendment is listed first for a reason. The Judiciary and Weaponization Committees are learning of egregious cases of bureaucrats violating First Amendment rights. The Censorship Accountability Act will ensure that federal employees are held accountable for their actions by allowing people to sue for violations of their First Amendment rights. The bill is a much-needed remedy to help guarantee that executive branch officials are held accountable for their censorship,” said Representative Jim Jordan, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
- Multiple investigations are unearthing significant evidence of censorship. In the Missouri v. Biden litigation, a federal court recently found “substantial evidence . . . of a far-reaching . . . censorship campaign,” where the federal government acted like “an Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth.’”
- According to Wall Street Journal reporting, in July 2021, Facebook’s head of Global Affairs asked why the company had been censoring the lab-leak theory. They answered, “Because we were under pressure from the administration.”
- While § 1983 provides any citizen the right to sue state employees for constitutional violations, there is currently no parallel to hold federal employees accountable.
- Representative Dan Bishop filed the companion bill in the House of Representatives last week as well.
- The Censorship Accountability Act is modeled on § 1983, but aimed squarely at preserving First Amendment rights. The Act will empower Americans to directly sue federal executive branch officials engaged in censorship for damages.
- The Act is designed to deter censorship in the first place, but if officials violate the First Amendment again, the Act gives the American people recourse.