WASHINGTON (NEWSnet/AP) — The Supreme Court on Wednesday sided with the Biden administration in a dispute with Republican-led states over how far the federal government can go to address controversial social media posts on topics such as COVID-19 and election security.

This is just one of nearly a dozen cases, including some major legal issues, that are pending as the Supreme Court nears the traditional end of its term.

Opinion announcements also are scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

In the case of Murthy v. Missouri, the justices threw out lower-court rulings that favored Louisiana, Missouri and other parties in their claims that officials in the Democratic administration leaned on the social media platforms to unconstitutionally squelch conservative points of view.

The decision was a 6-3 vote with majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito.

There have been other cases rising to the Supreme Court in the matter of social media and free speech:

  • In February, the court heard arguments over Republican-passed laws in Florida and Texas that prohibit large social media companies from taking down posts because of the views they express.
  • In March, the court laid out standards for when public officials can block their social media followers.

The cases over state laws and the one that was decided Wednesday are variations on the same theme, complaints that the platforms are censoring conservative viewpoints.

The states had argued that White House communications staffers, the surgeon general, the FBI and the U.S. cybersecurity agency are among those who applied “unrelenting pressure” to coerce changes in online content on social media platforms.

But the justices appeared broadly skeptical of those claims during arguments in March and some expressed concerns that common interactions between government officials and the platforms could be affected by a ruling for the states.

The Biden administration underscored those concerns when it noted that the government might lose its ability to communicate with the social media companies on issues of national security, public health and election integrity.

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