back to article Supreme Court urged to halt 'unconstitutional' Texas content-no-moderation law

A coalition of advocacy groups on Tuesday asked the US Supreme Court to block Texas' social media law HB 20 after the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals last week lifted a preliminary injunction that had kept it from taking effect. The Lone Star State law, which forbids large social media platforms from moderating content that' …

  1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Balkenisation?

    If this bill passes and any Texas resident can sue any social media site for any slight that they perceive, maybe the likes of Twitter will respond by banning Twitter from Texas and set up a special Texas-Only Twitter. Then implement a gateway between Texas Twitter and Twitter Rest Of the World. Anything is allowed into Twitter Texas, but the standard rules apply to posts from Twitter Texas attempting to exit the gateway. Then wait 6 months and see which of the two is biggest cess pit of scum and villainy. On the other hand, if Texas Twitter can't raise 50m users (LOL), then it won't be affected by HB20 anyway.

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: Balkenisation?

      came here to say this, fuck tex arse would be the common sense response

    2. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: Balkenisation?

      It's Balkanization, or Balkanisation in the UK. Sorry for pedantry because I always enjoy your posts but someone has to teach the kids. I learned a lot of spelling errors from other peoples posts only to be mocked for repeating them.

      I've wasted a lot of time posting on various comments sections. I was too extreme for anarchist websites because my issues could land on them, legally.

      I was voted (by the journalists) the best poster on the Sunday Herald website, 2003. That was closed down by MI5 dirty tricks, nothing to do with me.

      I reluctantly swapped to The Guardian and was banned .for criticising the brother-in-law of the editor. It's hard to respect anyone who is still allowed to post on The Guardian.

      The Independent comments were closed down, as apparently The Telegraphs were at the time - Iraq.

      I started posting on the NYT and most of the posters loved me, but some of the comments there were worrying and I didn't know how to reply.

      I swapped to The Atlantic, most posters there seemed to like me but it was eye-opening how rough and tumble it was. Some folk would espouse racism, terrorism and genocide under the flimsy umbrella of 'free speech', and they could say things in the US that I couldn't say here. The Atlantic was sickened and shut the whole thing down, underlining whose ball and pitch it is, but it battle-hardened me. I went screen to screen with fascists, racists and you know, other such nuts.

      Posting here is the only place I can talk online, or want to. More rational, less confrontational. I really hate downvoting anyone here because if you made it here then you have to be partly rational.

      I think it is okay to shout, "Fire!" into a theatre if the theatre is actually on fire, and if you didn't start the fire and chain the doors. Your ancient constitution sucks, and your body lies a mouldering in a grave.

      1. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: Balkenisation?

        "I really hate downvoting anyone here because if you made it here then you have to be partly rational."

        Ten downvotes and counting. Pile on why don't you.

        John Brown (no body). no upvote from you, fix your nation. The US is a mess.. It just is.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Balkenisation?

        "but someone has to teach the kids."

        Well, thank you for that. Maybe I've been mentally blocking it, but I just "discovered" today that I'm 60 this year! As for you comment about our UK constitution, few people have ever read the whole thing, what with it being a mish-mash of disparate documents all over the shop.

    3. James Anderson

      Re: Balkenisation?

      Did you read the post.

      The law in dispute bans social media sites from moderating content.

      The challenge is that social media companies have a right to set the rules on their platforms.

      It seems strange that this “conservative views are suppressed” keeps coming up given the deluge of petty prejudice, misogyny, misinformation and hate that spews out of large scale media operations like Fox News.

      Hate speech and “conservative” views cause actual harm; witness the recent deaths in Buffalo.

      1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

        Re: Balkenisation?

        Fact: The Buffalo shooter specifically called himself "Left Wing"!

        Fact: There has been a 15 year campaign (starting with the Election of Barrack Obama) of hate speech directed at white people. Do you think "that" might have motivated this disturbed young man?

        Fact: The FBI had this young man on their radar, they had already interviewed him, he had already been under mental evaluation. Yet, he somehow passes a background check to purchase a firearm!? Why did that happen? Was the FBI just incompetent? Did they not put anything on record of their contacts with this young man? Or did they deliberately not record that information and put one of their "paid" private operators in contact with this young to encourage him on, i.e. the Whitmer Kidnappers!

        Twitter, Facebook, the Media et. all deliberately censored a story (now proven to be true) that was detrimental to the candidate of one specific political party. While at the same time promoting a story (now proven to be false) detrimental to an opposing political party and President.

        You can spout off that the "outrage" that conservative opinions and stories detrimental to the Left are not being suppressed but the facts are increasing showing that they are!

        The Left is even abandoning the pretense that they are not censoring or that censorship is not what they want. I.E. The DHS Disinformation Board!

        If roles were reversed, and it was the Left that was being censored and suppressed, well, the screams would be deafening!

        1. runt row raggy

          Re: Balkenisation?

          i don't think the word "fact" means what you think it does.

        2. James Anderson

          Re: Balkenisation?

          Removing lies and insults from social media is not censorship.

          Its basic manners and decency.

          1. Dr. Ellen

            Re: Balkenisation?

            Alexander Pope asked, "Who is to decide, when doctors disagree?" The problem with social media censorship is not the filth and obscenity. The problem is the "lies". Who decides what is a lie? Who watches the watchmen? There are very few issues that don't have reasonable arguments on both sides; witness the debate over global warming.

            (See? a lot of you just downvoted me for saying there were reasonable arguments on both sides.)

            If it's a defamatory lie, with serious consequences, lawsuits for libel can be a remedy. If it's a statement about reality, the remedy for speech you don't like is more speech. And the moderators should be free to remove the cuss-words. We don't need the cuss-words. If you're literate, you can cuss without them.

            1. boblongii

              Re: Balkenisation?

              "There are very few issues that don't have reasonable arguments on both sides; witness the debate over global warming"

              That sort of sunk your point. Global warming has been researched for over a hundred years. The "reasonable arguments" have almost all been paid shills or conspiracy nuts.

              When doctors disagree, the solution is not to get rid of all doctors.

              "We don't need the cuss-words."

              Can you make a reasonable argument for that? Which words do you approve of?

              1. Dr. Ellen

                Re: Balkenisation?

                Cuss-words are indeed a puzzle. Worse, they vary from place to place, group to group, nation to nation. The US Supreme Court has taken up the puzzle many times, though they use the term "fighting words". There are certain combinations of letters that cannot be used on license plates. (They probably vary from state to state.) Let the cuss-words through, I guess.

                When it comes to climate change, I disagree with you. I'm eighty years old. I've lived through a lot of climate panics. In the seventies the climate panic was another ice age - global cooling. The earth did not freeze. But the climate narrative shifted to global warming. The earth did not boil or burn. Now we have to worry about climate change. Clever people! Climate changes all the time, so their warnings are unfalsifiable.

                What we've experienced is the climate warming by a degree or two as we climb out of the Little Ice Age. I approve. When climate scientists set their sights on maintaining the pre-industrial climate, they had a lot of choice. They could have picked the Medieval Climate Optimum. Even better, they could have picked the Roma climate optimum, or the Cretan one. Instead, they picked the Little Ice Age. Warming from that is an improvement.

                See? I disagree. I'm a doctor. (physics) Doctors disagree.

                1. boblongii

                  Re: Balkenisation?

                  The "ice age scare" lasted about a month and was largely the result of one newspaper misunderstanding what it was being told and reporting the immanent arrival of mammoths. Your grasp of the topic generally is clearly not at all good.

                  Doctorates have a shelf-life; yours has clearly expired.

            2. James Anderson

              Re: Balkenisation?

              Well their are two sides to the climate change issue, scientists who have spent years researching the issue gathering data and checking the results versus a bunch of nutters and shills financed by oil companies,

              Likewise on vaccines we have bio-chemists, doctors and health safety officials who do careful research double blind trials who can point to millions of lives saved dure to vaccines versus a discredited doctor who failed in a scam with a scus bag lawyer to blame autism on vaccines and sue the health services based on falsified research. Yet millions choose to believe thew charlatan and children are dying of preventable diseases as a result.

              It is worth noting that while the doctor was thrown out of the profession the law firm who sponsored the "research" is still practicing.

        3. VoiceOfTruth

          Re: Balkenisation?

          Fact: If you don't like what social toilets like Twitter, Facebook, 'the Media' (never heard of that one) do, you are free to start your own one with your own message. You can use Fox (not)News as your model.

        4. codejunky Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Balkenisation?

          @Cliffwilliams44

          "If roles were reversed, and it was the Left that was being censored and suppressed, well, the screams would be deafening!"

          You are kidding. Musk talks about allowing free speech on Twitter and the left are melting. Forget censoring them, just the possibility of their views being challenged causes screams.

        5. call-me-mark

          Re: Balkenisation?

          "Fact: The Buffalo shooter specifically called himself "Left Wing"!"

          While you're making sh*t up... From the shooter's manifesto: "Did you always hold these views? When I was 12 I was deep into communist ideology, talk to anyone from my old highschool and ask about me and you will hear that. From age 15 to 18 however, I consistently moved farther to the right."

          Note that the word "was" is past tense.

  2. The Travelling Dangleberries
    Facepalm

    SPAM, SPAM SPAM SPAM!

    "HB 20 also "prohibits email service providers from impeding the transmission of email messages based on content," as Abbott's press release explains."

    I wonder how long it will take before they stop enforcing that clause.

    1. Christoph

      Re: SPAM, SPAM SPAM SPAM!

      Spam, scams, viruses, harassment, grooming, stalking, etc. etc. On the face of it that clause completely bans spam traps. We'll have to treat any email from Texas with the same suspicion as emails from Nigerian Princes.

      Of course some of the right wing will be delighted that they can now freely drive off the net any uppity woman who dares to disagree with them.

    2. Patched Out

      Re: SPAM, SPAM SPAM SPAM!

      I'm thinking that all the bulk spammers should now target Texas ISP email addresses since it is now technically illegal to block them. Even better have every Democratic, "liberal", and "left-wing" organization start sending bulk emails to them. See how quickly Texas citizens demand this law be overturned or amended.

      1. EnviableOne Silver badge

        Re: SPAM, SPAM SPAM SPAM!

        Does anyone have contacts in the Pro-Choice advocacy community? I feel they're the right people to rapidly force that section to be repealed.

    3. Dr. Ellen
      Facepalm

      Re: SPAM, SPAM SPAM SPAM!

      Definite "unintended consequences". There are always unintended consequences. That's one that definitely needs reworking.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gaping hole

    It’s quite odd, really, that the only bit of protection US Citizens have with regarding their freedom of speech is a tiny bit of text, written 231 years ago, the meaning of which can only be decided by nine people that were mostly appointed by someone who came second in a past presidential election.

    Here in the UK we have Article 10 the Human Rights Act (1998) on a national level (which in itself is only a backstop for more detailed protective legislation) and Article 10 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms providing two levels of protection and two courts we can go to.

    People in the EU even have three levels as they not only have a national constitutional protection (which again is only a backstop for more detailed protective legislation) and the European Convention on Human Rights but also Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. That gives EU Citizens three courts to escalate an infringement to.

    Perhaps it’s time US Citizens ask for better, more modern and more detailed protective legislation that uses the First Amendment as a backstop. Instead of letting 45 words from 231 years ago do all the heavy lifting.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Gaping hole

      I dunno. How many words do you need? As the article states, the interpretation of that First Amendment has been pretty consistent over the years and the experts seem frankly rather surprised that Texas is trying it on.

      Oh, and the 231 years is irrelevant. "Thou shalt not commit murder." is rather older and has simply been translated into almost (?) every human language because we haven't actually changed our minds about this in the last 5,000 years.

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: Gaping hole

        As the article states, the interpretation of that First Amendment has been pretty consistent over the years and the experts seem frankly rather surprised that Texas is trying it on.

        C'mon, Ken...this is Texas we're talking about here. The intersection between Texas and common sense has been an empty set for as long as anyone can remember.

        1. SundogUK Silver badge

          Re: Gaping hole

          Compared to what? California and common sense?

      2. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: Gaping hole

        Unless one is a soldier based on the winning side....

      3. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: Gaping hole

        "Thou shalt not commit murder." is rather older and has simply been translated into almost (?) every human language because we haven't actually changed our minds about this in the last 5,000 years.

        Say that to the people in favor of Death Penalty, which is a State-sanctioned murder.

        Many barbaric states around the World consider it's justified to kill legally people.

        1. SundogUK Silver badge

          Re: Gaping hole

          By definition judicial execution is not murder.

          1. Cederic Silver badge

            Re: Gaping hole

            Judicial execution is illegal in my country and is thus by definition murder.

            Promise nobody innocent will ever be wrongly killed by the state. I won't believe you. The US murders its citizens.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Gaping hole

            You are Priti Patel and I claim my £5.

            1. Martin-73 Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: Gaping hole

              I rectified your downvote by smirkzilla patel... ewww.,... have a beer to wipe out the smirk on that cow's face

          3. Martin-73 Silver badge

            Re: Gaping hole

            [citation needed]

            1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

              judicial execution v. murder

              By definition judicial execution is not murder.
              [citation needed]

              The OED provides two relevant definitions; each of you can claim to be right, and each of you can claim the other to be wrong, by picking your preferred definition:

              1. a. The most heinous kind of criminal homicide; also, an instance of this. In English (also Sc. and U.S. ) Law, defined as the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought; often more explicitly wilful murder.

              [1.] c. Often applied to a death-sentence of a tribunal, killing of men in war, or any other action causing destruction of human life, which is regarded as morally wicked, whether legal or not. judicial murder : see JUDICIAL a. 1.

              → judicial murder, murder (or what is asserted to be such) wrought by process of law; an unjust though legal death sentence.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Gaping hole

          Nature fucks up every once in a while and creates a monster that has no place in society. It's a positive thing that some states will completely remove those monsters from society once they have shown their monstrous side and caused grievious harm to others. That helps keep the rest of us safe. For the general welfare, if you will.

          1. Martin-73 Silver badge

            Re: Gaping hole

            That's what prison's for. That way, when they get found to have just had the wrong colour skin, they can be released, ideally with compensation

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Gaping hole

              That's a nice fantasy, but isn't reality. Killers are broken inside and removing them makes society safer.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Gaping hole

        I don't think the First Amendment has been applied consistently at all throughout the years. Do you think slaves had the right to free speech in America? Or women or black people a hundred years ago? I bet you can find people today who will argue that the right to free speech is not uniformly available to all Americans.

        Who knows how the meaning will change next? If the US Supreme Court decides next year that only Christian men have the right to free speech because the Founding Fathers were Christian men and they obviously only meant that decent Christian men had the right to free speech then that is what the text of the first amendment means, free speech only for Christian men, "as per the constitution".

        As for "Thou shalt not murder", that is a pretty recent translation as English is a pretty recent language. It was translated from Hebrew and that was itself probably a translation from an earlier text. There is also ongoing debate about what the right translation is as רצח‎ can mean a whole bunch of things. For instance, Christian advocates of the right to euthanisation argue that the commandment only covers killing against someone's will and that "Thou shalt not kill" would be an erroneous translation.

        1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

          Re: Gaping hole

          First off, if you knew anything about our Founders you would know that labeling them "Christian Men" is a gross generalization and does not reflect at all upon their beliefs. Yes, they called themselves Christian but Jefferson specifically DID NOT believe in the deity of Christ. He believed the teachings of Christ were very good guidelines for how to live ones life but he did not believe that Christ was the living embodiment of God on Earth. This was a belief held by many of the men who founded this country. So to label them as some form a "Religious Zealots" is not only erroneous it is absolutely ignorant!

          I also find it increasingly insulting when Europeans point their crooked finger of disdain at American history while at the same time ignore the centuries of human suffering that is European history.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Gaping hole

            It's not really about what I think or how much I know about the Founding Fathers. It's about what the US Supreme Court can and will use to justify its interpretation of the constitution. I think a couple of justices would have no issue with calling the founders 'Christian men' if that helps their case.

            As for European history, I fully agree that Europe has a rich history of inflicting suffering on fellow Europeans and frankly people on every continent.

          2. Martin-73 Silver badge

            Re: Gaping hole

            I upvoted you because the mess that IS america is largely a european issue, exported.

    2. VoiceOfTruth

      Re: Gaping hole

      -> Perhaps it’s time US Citizens ask for better, more modern and more detailed protective legislation

      Please don't imagine that we have any rights in the UK (or that people in Europe also have rights).

      There is a general requirement for consent to medical treatment. Tell that to Austria where the citizens were under the boot of medical fascism. Your papers or you will be fined. And before you mention that the law was suspended, yes it is. But look at the wording: There are many convincing arguments at the moment that this infringement of fundamental rights is not justified. If you have a right which can be infringed when the government feels like, you do not have that right. It is just imagined.

      Such compulsory but non-consented medical treatment was urged here too by Tony Blair, husband to one of the UK's supposed top human rights lawyers - Cherie Booth. We didn't hear a peep from her.

      All those Articles and big words you mentioned didn't count for anything.

      1. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: Gaping hole

        Blah blah blah for a few letters then comes the antivaxx, change the record

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gaping hole

      "Perhaps it’s time US Citizens ask for better, more modern and more detailed protective legislation that uses the First Amendment as a backstop."

      That would be fine if we still had the Founding Fathers and Congress members from 1789 in office. I would not trust any of the politicians in Washington today to give our Bill of Rights a facelift, nor to try to craft legislation to make it better or more "modern". I shudder at the mere thought. Hell, they can barely pass an annual budget, I sure would not expect they could do anything beneficial if they started working on the very foundational laws of our union of several states.

      1. John Sager

        Re: Gaping hole

        There's your problem right there. If you have lost faith in the pols to 'do the right thing' whatever that is, then why should you think that a group of businessmen trying to sell advertising would do any better? Free speech is what it says - free, not hedged about with specific exceptions imposed by those in power who don't like being criticised, or who see threats to their income stream. And the multiple layers of litigation opportunities in the EU and elsewhere are a stupid cop-out.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Gaping hole

          "If you have lost faith in the pols to 'do the right thing' whatever that is, then why should you think that a group of businessmen trying to sell advertising would do any better?"

          I don't, not in the least, nor did I imply such in the earlier post.

          "Free speech is what it says - free, not hedged about with specific exceptions imposed by those in power who don't like being criticised..."

          OK but I'll refer you to the National Firearms Act of 1936 and the Gun Control Act of 1968. "Shall not be infringed" really only means "shall not be infringed" to the extent that those in power at a given time say it does, otherwise it's open to infringement by those in power at that time.

    4. Christoph

      Re: Gaping hole

      "Here in the UK we have Article 10 the Human Rights Act (1998) on a national level (which in itself is only a backstop for more detailed protective legislation) and Article 10 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms providing two levels of protection and two courts we can go to."

      Haven't you been keeping up with the news? Boris is going to repeal all that and claims he will replace it with his own version (but of course he's a habitual liar). So we will be at the whim of the current Home Secretary, who is panting to bring back the death penalty and has openly stated that she doesn't care if the person executed is guilty or not as it will still act as a deterrent.

    5. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: Gaping hole

      "Here in the UK we have Article 10 the Human Rights Act (1998) on a national level"

      For the time being. I don't have much hope for the effectivenes of the promised 'charter'.

    6. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

      Re: Gaping hole

      "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

      How much more clearer do you need it!

      The first 5 words say it all! "Congress shall pass no law". For most of that 231 years the US people and their leadership did not need anymore "protection" and understood what these words meant and lived by them.

      It is only in the last 1/2 century of more that one political movement, knowing that the majority of Americans are not going to buy what they are selling has engaged in a campaign of censorship and disinformation!

      In the 1950s, "there are no communists infiltrating our country and Sen. McCarthy is just a paranoid fool" That statement is now proven to be abjectly false and those people questioned by Sen. McCarthy were in fact either communists or Soviet agents!

      In the 1970's, "we will run out of oil and gas by the end of the century!" The so called peak oil crisis. Spread by the Carter Administration and this caused untold damage to the US economy and peoples lives. This was proven false by the early 1980s.

      In the 1990s, "the world in going to end because of carbon dioxide emission from energy production. i.e. Global Warming" Another falsehood that is being spread worldwide. This was so discredited in the early 2000's that they had to change the name to Climate Change because their "theories" consistently never materialized. They have been caught "faking" the numbers several times yet they call these revelations of their own doing "Climate Denial disinformation".

      In the 2010's - 2020's, "The Trump Campaign colluded with Russia!" Spread by all of Social Media and the establishment media. We now know that this was a deliberate disinformation operation funded and implemented by one (Democrat) political party against another (Republican political party) and President. In 2022 evidence is revealed of the son of the Democrat candidate was engaged in a massive operation of influence peddling for money that involved his then Vice President father and current Democrat nominee. Yet the establishment Media and Social Media suppressed the story calling it Russian disinformation. Which we now know was a lie!

      You can bury your head in the sand all you want but if the Left is successful suppressing and then removing their opposition, then they will have the freedom to do things that "you" don't like and then you will not have the right to speak out against them.

      Remember the old saying. "When they came for the Jews, I said nothing..."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Gaping hole

        I think you'll find that the alt.right and the 'Chan incels have been/are targeting the Jews. Just sayin'.

      2. cmdrklarg

        Re: Gaping hole

        "You can bury your head in the sand all you want but if the Left is successful suppressing and then removing their opposition, then they will have the freedom to do things that "you" don't like and then you will not have the right to speak out against them."

        You might want to turn down the brightness on that projection.

    7. Velv
      Coat

      Re: Gaping hole

      I admire your confidence that Americans as a whole and Texans in particular have an attention span longer than 45 words

    8. EnviableOne Silver badge

      Re: Gaping hole

      I keep having to say this, the constitution isn't the only recourse, the Universal Declaration of Human rights, which both the European Charter and HRA are based on is a foundational treaty of the UN, and applies to all members.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Gaping hole

        So, uh, how's that working in Ukraine?

      2. Irony Deficient Silver badge

        the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

        Regarding the UDHR’s application to US national law,

        In 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain that the Declaration “does not of its own force impose obligations as a matter of international law”, and that the political branches of the U.S. federal government can “scrutinize” the nation’s obligations to international instruments and their enforceability. However, U.S. courts and legislatures may still use the Declaration to inform or interpret laws concerned with human rights, a position shared by the courts of Belgium, the Netherlands, India, and Sri Lanka.

        Souter’s opinion was the basis of the Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain decision. The relevant snippet is:

        To begin with, Alvarez cites two well-known international agreements that, despite their moral authority, have little utility under the standard set out in this opinion. He says that his abduction by Sosa was an “arbitrary arrest” within the meaning of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Declaration), G. A. Res. 217A (III), U. N. Doc. A/810 (1948). And he traces the rule against arbitrary arrest not only to the Declaration, but also to article nine of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Covenant), Dec. 19, 1996, 999 U. N. T. S. 171, to which the United States is a party, and to various other conventions to which it is not. But the Declaration does not of its own force impose obligations as a matter of international law. See Humphrey, The UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in The International Protection of Human Rights 39, 50 (E. Luard ed. 1967) (quoting Eleanor Roosevelt calling the Declaration “ ‘a statement of principles … setting up a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations’ ” and “ ‘not a treaty or international agreement … impos[ing] legal obligations’ ”). And, although the Covenant does bind the United States as a matter of international law, the United States ratified the Covenant on the express understanding that it was not self-executing and so did not itself create obligations enforceable in the federal courts. See supra, at 33. Accordingly, Alvarez cannot say that the Declaration and Covenant themselves establish the relevant and applicable rule of international law. He instead attempts to show that prohibition of arbitrary arrest has attained the status of binding customary international law.

        (I added the bolding.)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tucker: Black lives don't matter

    The core problem, do you let Tucker Carlson spew his "black lives don't matter" hate speech, incite yet another mass shooter, this time Payton Gendron, to kill yet another crowd of black people. Or do you let social media enforce their rules and ban him from their platforms?

    Do you let Trump raise a mob and overthrow democracy? Or do you let social media enforce their rules and ban him?

    Do you let Republicans lie about "tens of thousands of vaccine deaths"? Or do you let social media enforce their rules and ban them?

    Florida and Texas have both decided that hate speech *is* Republican speech here, and needs to be protected even if it violates each platforms terms of service.

    And it's always Republicans spewing the "white genocide" crap, or the "covid is fake" crap, or the "Ukraine is full of Nazis / Putin is the hero" crap, or the "vaccines will kill you / antivax" crap.

    It's always Republicans pretending to be the victims while being the perps.

    Fox News will portray Payton Gendron as the victim, pretend he did the mass killing because 'he was scared', and who wouldn't be terrified of a supermarket with lots of people who have slightly more melanin. They'll try to get him off the charges, parade him on TV as a hero, just as they've done before.

    Tucker and Fox will say "Black Lives Don't Matter" a million different subtle different ways, and what more subtle than to get a mass killer free to kill again.

    1. tonique
      Unhappy

      Re: Tucker: Black lives don't matter

      Not an American... What I've seen not-current-mainstream-Republican people claiming is that "Owning the libs is the point" and also "Cruelty is the point". It seems to me that the current Republican narrative is getting even more detached from reality and common sense. I have no solution.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tucker: Black lives don't matter

      The truth is it's Republicans, not Democrats, who could do the right and proper thing with this shooter and hang him from the highest tree in Buffalo as a warning that we won't tolerate this kind of crap anymore. Democrats would worry about rehabilitating him and making sure his feelings weren't hurt.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tucker: Black lives don't matter

        That Republican party of yours has long gone. They no longer try to win votes, or have policies, they try to divide and conquer.

        They'll take him on tour around the country and pretend the people he killed were "crisis actors hired by leftists to make him look bad". Anything that helps that divide and conquer strategy.

        36 GOP States are passing "Don't say racism" laws, where its a crime to teach children about slavery and the segregation laws. History books have to be expunged.

        The point of banning speech there, is that Republicans have their propaganda outlets, like Fox News, OAN, and talk radio, and if they close down normal regular speech in online forums, then their extremist propaganda can fill the hole it creates.

        "Don't say gay", becomes "don't say gay, say abomination against God"

        "Don't say racism" becomes "don't say racism, say melanin induced delusions of equality".

        "Don't say 'black lives matter'", let Tucker Carlson call for the murder of black people by phrasing it in the form of a question.

        Tucker Carlson: "Should women who have an abortion be called murderers? I don't know, I'm simply asking. What if that, some might say 'blastocyst' but I say 'baby' was "baby Jesus"? Should Christians get their guns and save Jesus? In a free society, its important to ask the difficult questions: 0.22 or 0.45.....?"

        Tucker later: "I never called for the murder of women who have abortions. That's a nasty slur by the feminazies who should never have been allowed the vote."

        That's your new Republican party.

        I wish I was parody'ing them, but I'm Precis'ing them.

        1. SundogUK Silver badge

          Re: Tucker: Black lives don't matter

          I don't think a single thing you have just said is true.

          1. Someone Else Silver badge

            Re: Tucker: Black lives don't matter

            The first three words you wrote says it all.

            (...and no, this is not "taken out of context"...)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Tucker: Black lives don't matter

          Triggered... wow, man, take your meds.

  5. FILE_ID.DIZ
    Devil

    Or perhaps this could be just what the doctor ordered - the death of social media as we know it?

    An interesting analysis of this topic I read elsewhere was that if this law passed, it is highly likely that advertisers would flee in droves from social media because many brands do not want their ads next to toxic drivel.

    Fewer ads means less revenue. Less revenue means, well, less revenue. Fecesbook profit margins are down 8% over the past four quarters. Twitter is looking at a massively leveraged buyout that has been estimated to saddle them with interest-alone payment somewhere between 700M and 1B per year. Not great for a company that brought in $5B in revenue (not profit) in 2021 and with no real great way currently of monetizing their user base currently.

    Social media may allow people in far flung reaches of the world or just down the street to keep in touch. But as a society I think we've done well enough over the centuries before their kind.

    Perhaps these laws should be embraced? As in the first E in EEE. (Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish)

  6. SBU
    Mushroom

    The first amendment also limits companies.

    In the US, no company has natural rights. A company exists purely due to corporations law. Any rights a company has, exist only because corporation law provided those rights. The corporations law is subservient to the first amendment. The law cannot therefore allow a corporation to impact upon a human's first amendment right to free speech.

    A company could be given free speech rights but that would only apply to speech that is inherently that of the company. It would not apply to employees or customers of that companies as their rights are inherent to the indiviual.

    1. FILE_ID.DIZ
      Thumb Down

      Re: The first amendment also limits companies.

      That is demonstrably false.

      The 14th amendment has been interpreted to grant "personhood" to companies. See Northwestern National Life Insurance Co. v. Riggs with the first of many examples.

      Some might consider the crescendo being Citizens United v FEC.

      1. Fred Daggy Bronze badge

        Re: The first amendment also limits companies.

        If companies were people, the Texas should be able to execute one. Sorry, can't execute a company? Not even for murder? Then there are more severe punishments for people than for corporations.

        Then it's not a person. It might have MORE rights than a human being, a corporation isn't the same.

        1. ArrZarr

          Re: The first amendment also limits companies.

          Okay, but what part of giving people more severe punishments than companies is out of character for the US?

        2. FILE_ID.DIZ
          Facepalm

          Re: The first amendment also limits companies.

          I think that you're conflating justice and money. There probably aren't too many (if any at all) wealthy people put death in the past 100 years in the US.

          For example, Robert Kraft (owner of the New England Patriots and a bunch of other shit, but a billionaire none the less) beat out a rub and tug charge (prostitution) he was alleged to have committed at a massage parlor in 2019. His high-priced lawyers were able to get the video (the only evidence) tossed on a violation of privacy claim. The cameras were installed by the Government, which was the crux of the matter. I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that most, if not all of the remaining 20-something people also caught by the same video and charged with the same crime, did not have have the same financial wherewithal to challenge the prosecution all the way through to the Appeals Court like Kraft did.

          The fact that the prosecution decided not to take the case to the Supreme Court after losing their appeal was due to, quote, "broader, negative implications" on future law enforcement investigations beyond the Kraft case. It was likely due to the fact that Kraft has the money to fight for his freedom all the way to the bloody end.

          TL;DR - The Government knew they fucked up royally in their "sneak and peak" warrant (a holdover of the Patriot Act) - however, instead of catching a bunch of small fry, the Government accidentally caught a big fish and that fish could have capsized the Government's continued ability to surveil people if they pushed the case any further - simply because Robert Kraft has the financial largess to fight even simple prostitution charges to the bitter end.

          Our courts provide the best justice money can buy. Sadly, most individuals can't afford the justice that a corporation can.

  7. Totally not a Cylon
    Mushroom

    Social Media sites should welcome laws like this

    Because it would be a defense when sued for hosting 'non doctrinally correct texts'......

    'We'd love to remove 'whatever' but the law prevents us, so here's the poster's ip address......'

    Once they make 'editorial decisions' they are no longer a common carrier like the Post Office but are a publication.

    1. runt row raggy

      Re: Social Media sites should welcome laws like this

      the post office doesn't offer broadcast services. can you name a pre-internet broadcast service that was required to let anyone broadcast anything?

      1. Death Boffin
        WTF?

        Re: Social Media sites should welcome laws like this

        The post office doesn't offer broadcast services?

        What the hell are all those pieces of junk mail showing up every day? Snailmail spam!

        1. EnviableOne Silver badge

          Re: Social Media sites should welcome laws like this

          they're not broadcast, they are unicast, individually paid for and dispatched.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Social Media sites should welcome laws like this

        "can you name a pre-internet broadcast service that was required to let anyone broadcast anything?"

        Wayne's World. Public Access, baby!

  8. IGotOut Silver badge

    I love the freedom mob in the US.

    They want "Freedom of speech"

    But throw their toys out of the pram when a mosque tries to open not far from the two towers site

    They cry when people choose to take down statues of slave owning "war hero's"

    They complain about "woke" people expressing their views.

    In other words they like freedom of speech and expression, but only when it suits THEIR agenda.

    1. SundogUK Silver badge

      Re: I love the freedom mob in the US.

      False analogies. If the Texas law remains you will always be able to complain about what people say, you simply won't be able to stop them saying it.

    2. cmdrklarg

      Re: I love the freedom mob in the US.

      That's because they aren't interested in "freedom". They only care about THEIR freedom.

      AKA "I got mine, and fuck you".

  9. Barry Rueger

    Over to you Mr. Carlin

    Sigh. This is still the country that simultaneously preaches Freedom Of Speech while maintaining a list of Seven Words You Can't Say on the Radio.

    A country where the residents self-censor to a degree that routinely stops visitors dead in their tracks, and where "news" is so completely absent of anything from outside of their borders that an average person would never know about all of the places doing things better, and more humanely, than America.

    https://youtu.be/kyBH5oNQOS0

  10. osxtra

    Restaurant Rules

    "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone."

    Doesn't sound like too big a stretch to use that same logic when it comes to 3rd-party content.

    The server is, after all, not the personal property of the person posting the content. Unless they have some kind of arrangement with the server's owner, the end user has no expectation with regards to how their content is - or is not - stored.

    BTW, Greetings from Austin. I wish Paxton, and his boss Abbot would go. They do not appear to be honoring the document they swore to protect, and though this law would prohibit that opinion from being removed from public view, I'd wager if enough people posted in similar fashion - especially around election time - they'd figure out a way to suppress it.

    1. Patched Out
      Pint

      Re: Restaurant Rules

      Have a beer on me. I feel for you being a voice of reason living in a State of Unreason. Perhaps that should be Texas' new motto.

    2. Death Boffin
      FAIL

      Re: Restaurant Rules

      "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone."

      See how far you get with that one if you base it on race, sex or gender identity. You need to look up the term "public accommodation"

    3. Someone Else Silver badge

      @osxtra -- Re: Restaurant Rules

      And greetings to you in Austin, the highest point in the World's Largest Hole-in-the-ground.

      They do not appear to be honoring the document they swore to protect, and though this law would prohibit that opinion from being removed from public view, [...]

      You know, that brings up an interesting point: One could make the argument that this law effectively allows any libelous or slanderous material from being taken down. IANAL, but that could effectively neuter any libel and/or slander laws on the books in Tejas as well. (And, boy, wouldn't that be a kick in the tRump to the Orange-utan and other ego-driven authoritarians who have in the past threatened critics with such laws.

      Oh, and do you really think Paxson believes Abbott is his boss?

  11. codejunky Silver badge

    In other news

    The ministry of truth set up by the Biden administration has had the director resign and so is on pause.

    1. Pirate Dave Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: In other news

      Maybe they wanted to commence operations on the same day as the Ministry of Funny Walks.

      I know which one I'd rather have my tax dollars supporting...

  12. drankinatty

    Texas Has Lost Its Collective Mind Under Gov. Hot-Wheels and Indicted AG

    It just keeps getting more ridiculous. After being being born in the Lone Star State 56 years go, I've had a birds eye seat of the political shenanigans in Texas. The 21st century has been an embarrassment to Texans, but it just keeps on coming -- the gift that keeps on giving. Enter the AG indicted on securities related fraud and governor Hot-Wheels, and all limits on lunacy have been removed.

    How many more Buffalo's are we going to tolerate? The 18-year old wasn't radicalized talking on a land-line phone. I'm not for heavy handed moderation, but there is content that should be taken down, as soon as it hits a site. The facts that this idiot live-streamed the murders of 10 at the Tops supermarket in Buffalo is Exhibit-1 in why moderation is needed. If we can develop AI to identify child-porn on the fly, then identifying violence promoting posts should be trivial.

    One thing Texas has always had is reasonable Federal District Court judges, I know, I practice before them in the Northern, Southern and Eastern Divisions of Texas. But for the last 20 years the 5th Circuit has caught the same radical disease in New Orleans that the legislature in Texas is stricken with. It's earned itself the distinction of being the most overruled Circuit in the nation. The only caveat now is the change in composition of the US Supreme Court. Which, unfortunately, has shown the same symptoms and signs plaguing the 5th Circuit and Texas legislature.

    It's unfortunate, but outcome of the appeal is probably less than even-money for the appellants and tilts in favor of the nuts.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022