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Making the rubble bounce in Montana


In this episode, Paul Stephan lays out the reasoning behind U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy’s decision enjoining Montana’s ban on TikTok. There are some plausible reasons for such an injunction, and the court adopts them. There are also less plausible and redundant grounds for an injunction, and the court adopts those as well. Asked to predict the future course of the litigation, Paul demurs. It will all depend, he thinks, on the Supreme Court’s effort to sort out social media and the first amendment in the upcoming term. In the meantime, watch for bouncing rubble in the District of Montana courthouse. (Grudging credit for the graphics goes to Bing’s Image Creator, which refused to accept the prompt until I said the rubble was bouncing because of a gas explosion and not a bomb. Way to discredit trust and safety, Bing!)

Jane Bambauer and Paul also help me make sense of the litigation between Meta and the FTC over children’s privacy and the Commission’s previous consent decrees. A recent judicial decision has opened the door for the FTC to modify an earlier court-approved order – on the surprising ground that the order was never incorporated into the judicial ruling that approved it. This in turn gave Meta a chance to make an existential constitutional challenge to the FTC’s fundamental organization,…

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