Experts Weigh In On TikTok’s Chances Of Winning Lawsuit Against US Government

As TikTok and its parent company ByteDance take legal action against the United States government over a law that would force the sale of the popular app or result in a nationwide ban, some experts believe the companies have a strong case. The lawsuit filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit argues that the law violates the U.S. Constitution, including the First Amendment’s free speech protections.

Jameel Jaffer of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University stated “The First Amendment means the government can’t restrict Americans’ access to ideas, information or media from abroad without a very good reason for it—and no such reason exists here.” This sentiment suggests that TikTok may have a solid argument in its favor.

However, Gautam Hans a law professor and associate director of the First Amendment Clinic at Cornell University acknowledged some potential complications for ByteDance’s lawsuit. “The bipartisan nature of this federal law may make judges more likely to defer to a Congressional determination that the company poses a national security risk” he said.

Hans also noted that without public discussion of the specific risks it is difficult to determine why the courts should validate such an unprecedented law. The bipartisan support for the law in Congress contrasts with the resistance to the TikTok ban from both Democrats and Republicans, leftists and conservatives who have voiced their opposition on First Amendment grounds.