Ketanji Brown Jackson Concerned First Amendment ‘Hamstringing the Government’

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Ketanji Brown Jackson expressed concern that the First Amendment “hamstrings the government in important ways, during the most critical time periods.”

Jackson spoke to Louisiana’s Solicitor-General Benjamin Aguinaga. His state, along with Missouri, has sued the federal government for its efforts to censor social media speech during the coronavirus epidemic, ostensibly out of public health concerns.

Jackson presented an earlier hypothetical scenario in which social media platforms allowed a dangerous trend in which children are encouraged to jump from windows “at increasingly higher elevations.” She then asked if government authorities couldn’t “encourage the social media platforms to remove the information which is causing this problem.”

Aguinaga said that the government can use its “bully pulpit”, to fight back against the information. However, it cannot call social media platforms and encourage or force them to remove the information.


Jackson argued that it wasn’t enough for the government to post its own speech. She suggested that the government might “encourage” or “require” this type of censorship for public safety in certain situations.

Conservatives objected when the White House called on social media companies not to share information, such as political speeches about election integrity or skepticism regarding vaccines.