"The Saucy Sock Puppet of the Trump-Nominated Judge: An attorney up for a federal bench seat made his views plain while writing blog posts under a pseudonym." Eleanor Clift has this essay online at The Daily Beast
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Benton Foundation – Andrew Jay Schwartzman, June 21, 2017: “On June 19, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States used an unlikely vehicle to expand the scope of First Amendment protection for Internet users. In Peckingham v. North Carolina, speaking for five members of the Court, Justice Anthony Kennedy started with the general principle that the Court has always recognized the “fundamental principle of the First Amendment … that all persons have access to places where they can speak and listen, and then, after reflection, speak and listen once more.” Then, using soaring language that will surely be widely quoted in future cases, he said While in the past there may have been difficulty in identifying the most important places (in a spatial sense) for the exchange of views, today the answer is clear. It is cyberspace–the “vast democratic forums of the Internet” in general, and social media in particular. (citation omitted) The case arose as a challenge to a North Carolina statute that prohibits registered sex offenders from accessing social media sites. In 2002, Lester Peckingham, who was 21 years years-old at the time, pleaded guilty to taking indecent liberties with a 13 year-old girl. He received a suspended jail sentence and completed a term of probation. Eight years later, Peckingham was convicted of violating the social media statute after a police officer saw Peckingham’s Facebook post joyfully announcing dismissal of a speeding ticket Man God is Good! How about I got so much favor they dismissed the ticket before court even started? No fine, no court cost, no nothing spent. . . . . . Praise be to GOD, WOW! Thanks JESUS! The Court unanimously found North Carolina’s law to be unconstitutional. This is the second important Supreme Court opinion addressing the role of the Internet in American life. The first, Reno v. ACLU, was issued in 1997, during the Internet’s dial-up era. Its depiction of the Internet as a medium deserving the same high degree of First Amendment protection as traditional print media played an essential role in the legal framework for the Internet’s evolution over the last two decades.”