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Supreme Court Rejects Musk’s Tesla Tweet Appeal

Supreme Court Rejects Musk’s Tesla Tweet Appeal

Elon Musk filed an appeal in the “Twitter sitter” case, but the U.S. Supreme Court denied it. This preserves his arrangement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to have his posts about Tesla on social media pre-approved by an internal attorney. 

In Tesla Posts, Elon Musk Lost Appeal

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, has lost his appeal against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission because the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider the arguments in the appeal. In 2018, Musk and the SEC inked a contract for Musk to have an internal attorney pre-approve his social media posts on Tesla, the electric vehicle manufacturer. 

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Musk claimed that the contract he signed in 2018 violated his constitutional right to free expression. The justices were unaffected by the charges and declined without comment. 


Since tweeting in August 2018 that he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private, Musk and the SEC have been at odds over his social media posts. The tweet came after Tesla’s stock price shot through the roof, leading the SEC to sue the company for deceiving its investors. In the same week, Musk settled with the SEC, agreeing to retire as Tesla chairman and pay $20 million for the settlement. 

In the Supreme Court appeal, Musk’s attorneys contended that the arrangement is a “quintessential prior restraint that the law forbids.” “Mr. Musk’s speech is still unconstitutionally restricted by the pre-approval provision at issue whenever he thinks about speaking in public.” 


Musk Acquiring Twitter to Promote Free Speech 

Elon Musk again saw subpoenas from the SEC in 2021 after he posted a Twitter poll asking whether he should sell 10% of his stock. Musk’s attorneys argued for his right to free expression and filed appeals against the subpoena. But last year, a federal appeals court dismissed his arguments. 

Elon Musk revoked his pre-screening agreement and posted about the Tesla company, so the SEC opposed his appeal and asked the court to dismiss those grounds without holding a hearing. According to a brief submitted by U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, the lead attorney for the Biden administration on the Supreme Court, “this court has consistently held that, in resolving litigation, parties may choose to waive even fundamental constitutional rights,” the SEC stated. 

Musk continues to fight for freedom of speech on the acquired social media network Twitter (now X). Following the huge acquisition of Twitter, there were rare instances of major layoffs, resignations, and litigation. Elon Musk now wants to turn X into an all-in-one app, putting him in competition with industry titans like Disney.  

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