Elon Musk is taking his battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to the highest court in the country. Attorney Alex Spiro has confirmed that Musk will ask the Supreme Court to decide whether the SEC went too far with a consent decree determining what Musk can say about Tesla’s financials on Twitter (now X). He’s challenging a May 15th appeals court decision dismissing allegations the SEC abused the decree to harass him with investigations over Twitter usage.
The new appeal comes a day after a judicial panel denied Musk’s request that judges reexamine the case. The entrepreneur previously claimed he was pushed into the decree, and had to give up his right to contest the constitutionality of the SEC’s terms if he wanted to pursue the eventual settlement. The truce saw a total of $40 million in fines between Musk and Tesla, and required that Musk both step down as board chairman and seek legal approval when posting about company financials.
Musk drew the SEC’s attention in August 2018, when he tweeted that he was considering taking Tesla private and had “funding secured” with “investor support.” The deal never went through, and shareholders pinned ensuing losses on Musk’s posts. The Commission sued Musk over the tweets, arguing that they could be considered fraud.
During a shareholder trial, Musk contended that people didn’t necessarily believe or respond to his tweets the way you’d expect. He pointed to one example where Tesla’s stock price surged despite a tweet saying the value was too high. At the same time, he acknowledged that he has ignored requests to stop tweeting over delicate subjects, such as when he accused a Thai cave rescue diver of being a “pedo guy.”
There’s no certainty the Supreme Court will take the case or overturn the outcome. Either way, the court’s response should have a significant impact on Musk’s social media posting, either forcing him to honor the SEC’s decisions or giving him more flexibility in what he says online.