DeSantis' lawyers humiliated by federal judge over his 'poorly drafted' social media law
Ron DeSantis of Florida speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo by Gage Skidmore

According to a report from the Orlando Weekly, a federal judge in Florida put lawyers representing Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on the spot during a Monday hearing that indicated they had an uphill battle in front of them.

At issue is a law the Florida governor fiercely backed that would punish social media companies like Facebook or Twitter that ban users or add warnings to their posts.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 presidential election, popular social media sites began either banning users or deleting posts that spread harmful or blatantly false information.

That has led to a central conservative complaint that "Big Tech" is engaging in "cancel culture" that deprives Americans of their 1st Amendment rights.

According to Daphne Keller, an attorney and internet law expert, "The First Amendment is a constraint on the power of government. It doesn't apply to Twitter. Twitter is not a state actor."

According to Orlando Weekly, "Online-industry groups NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association this month filed a lawsuit challenging the law," that had its genesis in the banning of former president Donald Trump from Twitter and Facebook.

With the bill scheduled to go into effect on Thursday, lawyers representing DeSantis appeared before U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle to explain why the law should not be blocked.

With that in mind, Hinkle "peppered lawyers with questions and swiped at the law during a two-and-a-half-hour-long hearing Monday," Orlando Weekly reported.

"I won't put you on the spot and ask you if you've ever dealt with a statute that was more poorly drafted," the judge asked.

The judge later added, "It just seems to me that you can only make sense out of this statute if you know what the Legislature must have meant, not what it said. And I think that's a hard argument in Florida, where the court says, just read the words."

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