A panel of judges on the U.S. appeals court in Washington signaled skepticism of the Trump administration’s continuing efforts to ban new downloads of the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok.
At a hearing Monday, two of the three judges suggested they disagreed with the government’s legal rationale for a ban on TikTok, which is owned by ByteDance. The U.S. is arguing to reinstate an order to remove TikTok from app stores run by Apple and Alphabet’s Google, which a lower court blocked in September as an “indirect regulation” of communications prohibited by federal law.
The government is relying on “a fairly narrow definition of indirect regulation,” U.S. Circuit Judge Patricia Millett said at Monday’s hearing.U.S. Circuit Judge Judith Rogers was more blunt. “Congress wrote this language,” Rogers said, and the government’s justification for the ban “seems to fly in the face of that.”
The third judge on the panel, U.S. Circuit Judge Robert L. Wilkins, did not speak during the panel’s questioning of the Justice Department lawyer who was defending the TikTok ban.