FederalJudicialNinth Circuit Dismisses Twitter’s Free Speech Lawsuit Against Ken Paxton

Twitter sued Paxton for violating its free speech after the attorney general demanded information on its content moderation policies.
December 27, 2022
In a Tuesday press release, Attorney General Ken Paxton claimed legal victory over Twitter after a federal appeals court threw out the social media company’s lawsuit against him.

After President Donald Trump was banned from Twitter following the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, the Texas Office of the Attorney General issued a “civil investigative demand” (CID) for Twitter to reveal information on how it moderates content.

Paxton said he wanted to determine whether Twitter had violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Twitter then sued Paxton in the Northern District of California for violation of the First Amendment. The district court dismissed the case as not “prudentially ripe,” meaning it would be better decided in the future when there was more information.

A panel of judges affirmed that decision and added that the case was “not constitutionally ripe,” meaning it rested on hypothetical future events rather than present facts because Twitter did not claim the CID had a “chilling effect” on its free speech at the time.

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Twitter then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which affirmed the panel’s judgment that the case was constitutionally unripe.

“The issues here are not fit for judicial decision,” wrote Judge Ryan D. Nelson in the opinion, “because Twitter’s allegations do not show that the issuance of the CID is chilling its speech or causing it other cognizable injury that the requested injunction would redress.”

Paxton’s press release claimed the lawsuit was a “thinly-veiled distraction.”

“I’ve been asking Twitter for years to answer questions about its content moderation and large-scale censorship, but Twitter’s only response has been to try and hide behind its bogus lawsuits against me,” he wrote.

“Now that yet another court has ruled in our favor and more details surrounding Twitter’s censorship have come to light, I look forward to helping get to the bottom of any actions that the company took to mislead consumers.”

A copy of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision can be found below.


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Rob Laucius

Rob Laucius is the Assistant Editor of The Texan. He graduated summa cum laude from Hillsdale College in 2022 with his Bachelor’s in History, and has interned for the U.S. House of Representatives and Veterans Administration. In his free time, he continues to read and write.