FILE - Andrew Bailey, Missouri Republican Attorney General

Republican Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey applauds during the State of the State address in Jefferson City on Wednesday.

(The Center Square) – A lawsuit against President Joe Biden’s administration for alleged collusion with social media companies and defending Missouri’s Second Amendment Preservation Act are priorities for Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey.

Litigation in both cases began while Republican U.S. Sen. Eric Schmitt was serving as Missouri’s attorney general. After the State of the State address on Wednesday, Bailey, who was appointed in November to replace Schmitt, said depositions in the social media collusion case are leading toward an injunction.

“We have documentary evidence, we have testimonial evidence and we intend to seek more evidence in the coming weeks,” Bailey said in an interview with The Center Square. “We're on an expedited discovery timeline. At some point, we're going to get into a procedural posture where we’re going to ask for an injunction to prevent further coercion and collusion from the federal government and prevent Biden and his team from censoring speech.”

Missouri v. Biden was filed by Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry in May and they were granted a motion for discovery to expedite a possible preliminary injunction in July. In addition to releasing documents in the case, they released the transcript of a deposition of Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical advisor who recently retired.

Last week, Bailey released emails from White House Digital Director Robert Flaherty and other associates to major social media platforms. It included an email from Flaherty to Facebook asking why a video by Tucker Carlson on COVID-19 vaccines didn’t violate the social media platform’s standards.

“What we've demonstrated and what we believe is going on is censorship because it's unelected federal bureaucrats targeting specific speech that they disfavor and asking that it be removed from big-tech social media platforms,” Bailey said. “That's the problem. It stifles free, fair and open debate and it undermines our First Amendment. There should be marketplace of ideas that is free from government censorship.”

Bailey said defending the Missouri's Second Amendment Preservation Act in lawsuits also will be a priority. The city of Arnold filed a lawsuit and St. Louis city and county and Jackson County filed a separate suit seeking to overturn the law. Both lawsuits claim the law restricts local police cooperating with federal law enforcement on gun violations.

“The Second Amendment is what makes all of the other (amendments) possible,” Bailey said. “It prevents enforcement of federal firearm regulations that exceed or violate the Second Amendment. We need to be going after criminals and not guns, first and foremost. I think most law enforcement officers in the state of Missouri agree with that. If we spent more time going after the criminals and not the guns, we will have safer streets.”

Bailey said the Missouri law is aligned with the principles of the authors of the U.S. Constitution.

“The founders understood that, number one, our rights come from God and not men,” Bailey said. “The federal constitution was a floor, not a ceiling, and the states could be guarantors of individual liberties. So the state legislature wants to expand upon the foundational rights codified in the Second Amendment and they have authority to do that. It’s about federalism and individual liberty.”

Staff Reporter

Joe Mueller covers Missouri for The Center Square. After seven years of reporting for daily newspapers in Illinois and Missouri, he spent the next 30 years in public relations serving non-profit organizations and as a strategic communications consultant.