Ketanji Jackson comments got 'even worse' after fretting over 'hamstringing'

 March 20, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

Ketanji Jackson, Joe Biden's only appointment, so far, to the U.S. Supreme Court, was the butt of a multitude of jokes and guffaws this week because she fretted about the First Amendment "hamstringing" the federal government's attempts to censor speech and thought.

After all, the purpose of the First Amendment was to control the federal government's attempts to censor speech and thought.

Her blunder came in Supreme Court arguments in a case in which people censored by social media companies – at the behest of the Biden administration – during COVID and more challenged the scheme on First Amendment grounds.

The evidence shows that Biden's bureaucrats worked hard to coerce social media companies to suppress, even banish, that speech and those thoughts that conflicted with Biden's agenda.

Jackson fretted, "My biggest concern is that your view has the First Amendment hamstringing the federal government in significant ways in the most important periods."

Now a report from Margot Cleveland at The Federalist points out that wasn't even the worst of Jackson's blunders.

The report noted that "even worse" was what she said shortly after.

"So can you help me? Because I’m really — I’m really worried about that because you’ve got the First Amendment operating in an environment of threatening circumstances from the government’s perspective," Jackson told Louisiana Solicitor General Benjamin Aguiñaga. Why couldn’t the government communicate with social media companies then? Jackson queried.

The report noted free-speech advocates "rightfully" blasted Jackson for her hamstring complaint since her statement "laid bare the fundamental disdain she and other politically liberal justices hold for the classically liberal freedoms our Constitution protects."

Aguiñaga had responded that the government could communicate with tech companies but in doing so, must abide by the First Amendment.

"Lost in this exchange, however, was the horror of Justice Jackson’s premise — that the government outreaches would depend on federal officials' 'perspective' of 'threatening circumstances,'" the report said.

"Five years ago, that proposition might not have seemed so shocking because Americans hadn’t yet lived through the dual outrage of near-universal capitulation to the government’s requests for censorship and the wrongheadedness of the federal government’s 'perspective' of 'threatening circumstances.' Absent that lived experience, it might have been possible to imagine the government would only solicit Big Tech’s cooperation when truly faced with 'threatening circumstances,' or that the social media companies would refuse to remove third parties’ posts, absent a sincere danger," the report said.

But it explained the case's court record shows "the government’s 'perspective' of 'threatening circumstances' can be both dangerously wrong and politically motivated."

The report pointed to the evidence:

The federal government viewed anything prompting “vaccine hesitancy” as threatening public health. It also maintained that masking and school closures were necessary to protect Americans against Covid. These “perspectives” of “threatening circumstances” flowing from the pandemic led the government to demand that social media companies block users and posts discussing adverse effects of Covid shots or arguing against masking and school closures. But the government was wrong about all of it, and those censored were right. Had the government not successfully silenced such speech, Americans would have been better armed with facts to make important health and public policy decisions.

Then there were the political motives behind the government's insistence media corporations block information about the New York Post's reporting on Biden family scandals uncovered in a laptop abandoned by Hunter Biden.

"Once again, the banned speech was true, and Americans were prevented from learning vital information before the election due to the government’s efforts to persuade Big Tech to block supposed 'hack or leak' material. (Turns out, the Hunter Biden laptop was no such material.)," The report said.

Jackson went even further astray from the Constitution, the report explained, when she insisted "we have a test" for the First Amendment, and it's not whether there's "abridgment" of speech.

Yet that's exactly what the amendment requires, the report notes.

Her earlier comment was, "My biggest concern is that your view has the First Amendment hamstringing the federal government in significant ways in the most important periods. … And so I guess some might say that the government must take steps to protect the citizens of this country, and you seem to be suggesting that that duty cannot manifest itself in the government encouraging or even pressuring platforms to take down harmful information."

Fox and Friends Weekends co-host Will Cain confirmed, "Hamstringing the government is THE POINT of the First Amendment!"

And California state Rep. Bill Essayli, in the report, confirmed, "That’s the point of the Bill of Rights. The government’s powers derive from, and are subservient to, the rights of the People."

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