November 2022 US Policy Update
118th Congress Means New Landscape for Devs
On the heels of the 2022 midterm elections, it’s time to take stock of what the political landscape will look like over the next two years. Devs, like a lot of us, just want policymakers to get out of the way. But the reality remains that in order to navigate the new political landscape, you need to know who the power players are. Republicans are well on their way to winning the House of Representatives, albeit with the slimmest of majorities. While it’s still not entirely clear who will control the Senate (again, with the slimmest of majorities), Democrats appear to be in the driver’s seat for the few outstanding races that will determine control of the upper chamber. A divided Congress may lead you to believe nothing will get done, a closer look tells a different story. We anticipate Congress to be very active on many of the issues affecting devs.
Congress Not Likely to Consider Antitrust Legislation During Lame Duck
As Congress tackles an array of issues in a sprint to the conclusion of the 117th Congress, there was some initial speculation that the Senate might consider S. 2992, the American Innovation and Choice Act during the lame duck session. With just a few legislative days left in this session, it does not appear that the Senate will bring up the bill for a vote. Given the Senate’s other priorities including a government funding package, aid for Ukraine, the National Defense Authorization Act, and expiring tax provisions, there does not seem to be much time –or appetite –to consider antitrust legislation that is fairly unpopular with devs. Incoming GOP leaders in the House haven’t expressed any support for the proposal, which could effectively kill it in the next Congress.
SCOTUS to Take Up Two Key Content Moderation Cases
The United States Supreme Court will soon be taking up two important content moderation cases, both dealing with Section 230(c)(1) of the Communications Decency Act. In the Twitter v. Taamneh case, the court will consider whether Twitter did enough to detect and prevent terrorists from using the platform. Similarly, in Gonzales v. Google, the court will consider whether Section 230 bars liability for third-party content published on websites, and if Section 230 exempts editorial content from liability protections.
The Developers Alliance will be weighing in at the Supreme Court on both cases. We will brief the court of the history, limitations, and practical applications of content moderation. This is the first time the Supreme Court has decided to take up cases related to Section 230. Both cases could have profound impacts on how platforms distribute content. We anticipate lawmakers in Congress to also pursue legislation in this arena.