TikTok Measure Passed by House Is Unconstitutional in Multiple Ways

But the bill goes far beyond TikTok, and could be used to justify a ban on all sorts of popular apps tied to China, Russia, Iran, or any other country that gets deemed a foreign adversary. ...


The most obvious constitutional problem is the First Amendment. The bill suppresses the free speech rights of Americans who post to TikTok and of those who consume TIkTok content.

It may also amount to a bill of attainder—a law punishing a specific person or entity, without a trial—and those are unconstitutional.

And it may also violate the 5th Amendment, as Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) noted in a Reason article last week.

Ed Morrissey

My bigger problem is the sloppiness of the language here that could end up tangling American companies in the forced-divestment mechanisms, not in regulating foreign carriers inside the US. We are not obligated to allow adversarial regimes to operate social-media platforms in the US, although an argument can be made for it, I suppose. This isn't a First or Fifth Amendment issue because it's a commerce question, not a speech question. Americans have other platforms on which to express themselves. 

Is this good policy? That's debatable. But restricting foreign adversaries from operating propaganda systems in the US is not a constitutional issue. 

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