Dedman Law First Amendment Clinic in the News

February 27, 2024

Supreme Court to hear arguments in challenges to social media censorship laws in Texas and Florida

Two technology trade groups, NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association, argue that Texas House Bill 20 and a similar Florida statute violate constitutional protections against compelled speech. Tom Leatherbury, director of the SMU Dedman School of Law First Amendment Clinic provided commentary.

Headshot of Thomas S. Leatherbury, adjunct faculty member at SMU Dedman School of Law.

Houston Public Media:

Tom Leatherbury, who leads the First Amendment Clinic at Southern Methodist University's Dedman School of Law, anticipated the justices will have "questions about compelled speech, because that's essentially what the laws require the platforms to do is to post speech that they otherwise would not post because they violate their terms of service or community standards."

The Texan News

“I think you'd have two questions that the courts are going to decide, the content moderation and the individualized explanation point. But within those points are all these issues and defenses and counter-issues,” Tom Leatherbury, director of the First Amendment Clinic and Clinical Professor of Law at Southern Methodist University, explained to The Texan.

“I’m concerned about the stingy approach of some of the justices toward facial pre-enforcement challenges to laws. If the court were to reach the merits, I’m more optimistic that the laws will be struck down based on the tenor of many of the questions including some of those justices who might be persuadable.”

KSTX Texas Public Radio, San Antonio

KUT (Austin) 90.52

KERA (Dallas)