Supreme Court Rejects Elon Musk’s “Free Speech” Appeal In SEC Case

Another day, another chapter in the Elon Musk vs. SEC saga.

The US Supreme Court declined to hear Elon Musk’s appeal regarding his ongoing “Twitter sitter” case, Bloomberg reported on Monday, keeping Musk’s agreement with the SEC to have a company lawyer approve his social media posts in place.

Musk, without success, had argued that the 2018 agreement infringed upon his constitutional right to free speech.

The decision marks the latest development in Musk’s lengthy, ongoing dispute with the SEC, which started after he tweeted in August 2018 that he had “funding secured” for a potential $80 billion take-private deal for Tesla.

As a result, Tesla stock rocketed higher the day of. 

Following Musk’s tweet, the SEC filed a lawsuit alleging shareholder deception and, shortly after, Musk settled with the SEC, agreeing to step down as Tesla chairman and pay a $20 million fine.

In 2021, Musk reopened the dispute by conducting a Twitter poll regarding selling 10% of his stock. This prompted the SEC to issue subpoenas to Musk and Tesla. Musk then sought to annul his pre-screening agreement, but his arguments were dismissed by a federal appeals court last year.

Musk’s lawyers had argued to the Supreme Court that the agreement was a “quintessential prior restraint that the law forbids.”

They said in their appeal: “The pre-approval provision at issue continues to cast an unconstitutional chill over Mr. Musk’s speech whenever he considers making public communications.”

In its brief, the SEC responded: “This court has consistently held that, in resolving litigation, parties may choose to waive even fundamental constitutional rights.”

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