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“Jan. 6 Trump Gag Order: Narrowed But Still In Place

On January 6, 2021, the Supreme Court reinstated the Trump administration’s so-called “gag order” on certain government workers in a case related to the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, though the court narrowed the order’s reach. The gag order, which the court initially put in place in October 2020, bars workers from speaking publicly about the event unless they are cleared to do so either by Congress or by the White House. In its ruling, the court applied the order more narrowly, allowing workers to talk about matters which are owned by the public and not related to the January 6 riot, as well as matters involving grievances against the government. The January 6 riot, in which hundreds of supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in a failed attempt to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s presidential election victory, has been the subject of intense scrutiny from both Congress and the White House. Though most of the rioters were not charged, the incident has been cited as a major factor in Trump’s second impeachment, as well as a source of tension between the White House and Congress. In its ruling, the Supreme Court noted that the gag order was necessary to protect the investigation into the incident and also preserve the confidentiality rights of certain government workers. However, the court also noted that by narrowing the reach of the order, workers could still have the opportunity to speak about matters that are of public interest, as well as address grievances against the government. The ruling is seen as a significant victory for the Trump administration, which had requested that the order be reinstated. Critics of the order, however, maintain that the order is still unconstitutional as it restricts the rights of workers to free speech and violates basic principles of democracy.

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