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DOJ and TikTok Seek Expedited Court Review Over Divestment Law

 |  May 20, 2024

The U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) and TikTok have jointly requested that a U.S. appeals court expedite the review of legal challenges to a new law mandating the divestment of TikTok’s U.S. assets by January 19, or face a nationwide ban. According to Reuters, the move aims to allow ample time for potential Supreme Court intervention prior to the looming deadline.

TikTok, owned by China-based ByteDance, along with a coalition of TikTok content creators, submitted a petition on Friday to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. They seek a ruling by December 6, as reported by Reuters. This urgency reflects the app’s massive American user base, which stands at approximately 170 million, and its significant cultural impact in the U.S.

Earlier in the week, a group of TikTok creators initiated a lawsuit aiming to block the law, asserting that enforcing divestment would severely disrupt American life. This followed a similar lawsuit from TikTok and ByteDance, which contended that the legislation infringes upon several constitutional protections, including the First Amendment’s free speech clause.

Read more: TikTok Updates Data Usage Regulations to Fit EU Laws

The petitioners underscored the public’s vested interest in a swift resolution, noting, “In light of the large number of users of the TikTok platform, the public at large has a significant interest in the prompt disposition of this matter.” They argue that an expedited schedule could potentially negate the necessity for emergency preliminary injunctive relief.

Signed by President Joe Biden on April 24, the law mandates that ByteDance divest TikTok’s U.S. operations by mid-January, citing national security concerns. The White House emphasizes that the objective is to terminate Chinese ownership, not to ban the app itself.

In their joint filing, the parties requested that oral arguments be scheduled as soon as feasible within the court’s September calendar. Additionally, the DOJ indicated it might submit classified documents to substantiate the national security concerns, to be reviewed confidentially by the court.

Source: Reuters