According to his attorney, Elon Musk requested on Thursday that the U.S. Supreme Court examine whether the Securities and Exchange Commission exceeded its jurisdiction in imposing a consent decree that he has referred to as a “muzzle” on his constitutional right to free speech.
After posting in August 2018 on what was then called Twitter, now known as X, that he had “funding secured” to take his electric car company Tesla private, Musk asked the justices to hear his appeal of a lower court’s ruling in May that upheld the decree, according to his lawyer.
The consent decree was part of a settlement with the SEC in which Musk and Tesla each paid $20 million in fines, Musk stepped down as Tesla’s chairman, and Musk agreed to let a Tesla lawyer approve some Twitter posts ahead of time.
Musk’s lawyers have claimed that the SEC had no right to impose a “gag rule” as a condition of settlement, claiming that it violated the First Amendment constraints on governmental limits on free speech.
Separately, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans has agreed to reconsider its March ruling that Musk violated federal labor law by tweeting in May 2018 that Tesla employees would lose stock options if they joined a union. The 5th Circuit will hear the case in January.