Lieu: ‘I Would Love to Be Able to Regulate the Content of Speech’ but First Amendment Stops Me

Rep. Ted Lieu (D., Calif.) said he would "love to be able to regulate the content of speech" during an interview Wednesday, noting he was prevented from doing that by the First Amendment.

Lieu got attention a day earlier when Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified at a House Judiciary Committee hearing, assailing conservative claims of the tech giant's bias against them by reading positive and negative stories about Republican Reps. Steve Scalise (La.) and Steve King (Iowa), the latter of whom has repeatedly courted controversy with racially charged remarks.

After CNN host Brianna Keilar praised Lieu for the "clever" stunt, she wondered if Democrats should have used more of their time to question the Google leader about how it and other tech companies can work to prevent the spread of conspiracy theories and other online trolling.

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"It's a very good point you make," Lieu said. "I would love if I could have more than five minutes to question witnesses. Unfortunately, I don't get that opportunity. However, I would love to be able to regulate the content of speech. The First Amendment prevents me from doing so, and that's simply a function of the First Amendment, but I think over the long run, it's better the government does not regulate the content of speech."

He added he would urge private companies to regulate their platforms more themselves but repeated the government shouldn't play that role.

Lieu blasted the hearing as a waste of time perpetrated by Republicans and backed the right of corporations to free speech. He backs a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court decision Citizens United, however, which confirmed that right.

Lieu tweeted Tuesday he would like to regulate Fox News but said the fact that he couldn't was "a good thing in the long run."