California Judge Tosses Twitter Lawsuit Against Texas Attorney General Paxton

Facebook and Twitter icons together on a smartphone screen; image by LoboStudioHamburg, via

In her decision, the judge found that Twitter’s lawsuit was “premature” as Paxton’s office has not yet been given legal authority to require the company’s internal communications.

A federal judge in California has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Twitter against Texas attorney Ken Paxton, who announced an investigation into the social media platform after former President Donald Trump was banned.

According to The Texas Tribune, Twitter’s lawsuit had sought an injunction against Paxton’s office, which is searching for documents related to Twitter’s internal communications and decision-making.

In its filing, Twitter alleged that Paxton attempted to prevent Paxton from “illegally using his authority as the highest law enforcement officer in the state of Texas to intimidate, harass, and target Twitter in retaliation for Twitter’s exercise of his First Amendment rights to take. ”

As a private company, Twitter – along with other social media networks – is allowed to censor or ban users for violating its terms of use.

While Twitter had probably thought about banning Trump for years, the network didn’t do so until after the January 6 riots outside the national Capitol. The company’s decision came after President Trump made a series of half-hearted, possibly inflammatory statements calling on his supporters to “step down” and tacitly support their actions.

A 2013 picture of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Image via Wikimedia Commons / User: Alice Linahan Voices Empower. (CCA-BY-2.0).

Nonetheless, Judge Maxine M. Chesney found that Twitter’s complaint was “premature” at this point in Paxton’s investigation.

The Hollywood Reporter states that as of mid-May, Paxton’s office will no longer be legally empowered to enforce its requests for internal Twitter documents.

“Unlike the defendants in the cases on which Twitter relies, the attorney general has no power to impose sanctions for noncompliance with its investigation,” Chesney wrote. “Rather, the attorney general would have to go to court, where the only possible consequence for Twitter would be a judicial determination that the CID is enforceable, contrary to Twitter’s allegation. Since no action has been taken to enforce the CID so far, the court found that Twitter’s lawsuit was premature and must be dismissed as such. “

In response to Chesney’s decision, Paxton appeared victorious, saying the company was trying to avoid answering his office’s supposedly legitimate questions.

“Twitter’s lawsuit was little more than an attempt to avoid answering my questions about censorship and content moderation guidelines on a large scale,” he said in a statement.

Paxton, the Texas Tribune added, had expressed doubts about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election – and actually attended one of the rallies just before the riots in the Capitol.

Recently, he has begun to aggressively criticize other tech companies for either de-platforming or speaking out against President Trump and other conservative figures.

“The seemingly coordinated de-platforming of the President of the United States and several leading voices not only shakes free speech but also silences those whose speech and political beliefs do not align with big tech company leaders,” Paxton said in one January message publication.


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