[June 29, The Advocate/Times-Picayune]  In a decision written by Louisiana native Amy Coney Barrett overruling lower-court judges from the state, on a case whose main plaintiff was a local anti-vaccine activist and that personally affected Attorney General Liz Murrill — whose office was another plaintiff — the U.S. Supreme Court has now made it much easier for government officials to stifle free speech.

It was a terrible decision.

As accurately described in a dissenting opinion by Justice Samuel Alito, Murthy v. Missouri involved “a coterie of officials at the highest levels of the Federal Government [who] continuously harried and implicitly threatened Facebook with potentially crippling consequences if it did not comply with their wishes about the suppression of certain COVID-19-related speech.”

Facebook in turn cracked down on a plethora of posts against mandates for vaccines and masks, including restricting plaintiff Jill Hines’ account on numerous occasions, especially for posting an article — an accurate article, at that — about worrisome rates of myocarditis, a potentially deadly heart ailment, in teenagers who received the coronavirus vaccine.

By now, the Centers for Disease Control has acknowledged that, although still relatively rare, evidence now “supports a causal association” between some of the COVID-19 vaccines and myocarditis, especially in late-teen or young adult males. At the time, though, at least in part due to the government pressure, Facebook actively censored those reports, including the one posted by Hines.

As it happens, Murrill’s son, then aged 17, was one of those who developed myocarditis, in his case just 36 hours after his second dose of a vaccine. As Murrill said in gripping testimony before Congress, her son “would need to spend four days in the pediatric ICU, hooked up to pulse-oxygen and heart monitors while receiving a 15-hour IVIg infusion to ‘stop his body from attacking itself.’”

 

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