Biden Admin Pushes SCOTUS To Reject Musk’s Appeal

The Biden administration late last month urged the Supreme Court to reject Elon Musk’s request for the justices to intervene in his dispute with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Reuters reported.

In December, Musk asked the Supreme Court to take up his appeal after the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan rejected his request to terminate a consent decree he made with the SEC, arguing that the decree violated his First Amendment rights.

The decree, which was part of a 2018 settlement Tesla made with the SEC, required some of Musk’s social media posts to be vetted in advance, which Musk argues is muzzling his free speech rights.

In a March 22 filing with the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, arguing on behalf of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said the consent decree was “reasonably designed” to ensure that Musk would not make any “false or misleading statements” on social media in the future that would violate securities laws.

In a decision last May, a three-judge panel of the federal appellate court rejected Musk’s argument that the SEC was exploiting the consent decree to harass him by conducting investigations into his Twitter posts.

The appellate panel ruled that Musk could not revisit the screening of his social media posts simply because he “changed his mind.”

Musk’s attorneys have maintained that the Securities and Exchange Commission did not have the authority to impose a “gag rule” on Musk’s social media use as a condition of settling the complaint, arguing that it violated the First Amendment’s constraints on the government limiting the right to free speech.

In his December filing to the high court, Musk’s attorneys argued that requiring him to gain pre-approval for social media posts placed “intolerable power” into the hands of the SEC.

Solicitor General Prelogar noted in her filing that the Supreme Court has “consistently held” that parties resolving litigation could “choose to waive even fundamental constitutional rights.”