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April 30, 2024
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Supreme Court rejects Musk’s Twitter oversight appeal

The Supreme Court’s decision on Monday marked the latest chapter in the ongoing saga involving Tesla CEO Elon Musk and his turbulent relationship with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Back in 2018, Musk found himself in hot water after a tweet claiming he had secured funding to take Tesla private at $420 per share. The SEC promptly accused him of making false and misleading statements, which caused significant fluctuations in Tesla’s stock price.

To avoid further legal action, Musk entered into a settlement agreement with the SEC. Part of this agreement required him to seek approval from a company lawyer before posting anything about Tesla on social media—a provision often referred to as the “Twitter sitter” rule. Despite initially agreeing to these terms, Musk later contested them, arguing that they infringed upon his constitutional right to free speech.

In an unexpected turn of events, Musk acquired Twitter in 2022, rebranding it as X. However, this change in ownership did not alter his stance on the “Twitter sitter” provision. His legal battle to overturn it culminated in an appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court’s rejection of Musk’s appeal came without any commentary, signaling a definitive end to his efforts to revoke the oversight requirement. This decision aligned with previous rulings from lower courts, including the US District Court and the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals, which had dismissed Musk’s arguments.

In their ruling, the appeals court panel emphasized that Musk had ample opportunities to contest the SEC’s charges or negotiate alternative terms but had opted against doing so. They found no evidence to support his claim that the SEC had acted in bad faith or harassed him over his protected speech.

With the Supreme Court’s decision, Musk remains bound by the terms of the settlement agreement, requiring him to adhere to the “Twitter sitter” provision when discussing Tesla on social media—a reminder of the enduring consequences of his infamous tweet from 2018.

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