Professor Volokh, Students File Amicus Brief in Social Networking Case Accepted by High Court

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether North Carolina lawmakers can prevent sexual predators from using prominent social media sites in a case where Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Distinguished Professor Law, and students in the school’s UCLA’s First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic filed a brief in support of certiorari.

In Packingham v. State of North Carolina, the North Carolina Supreme Court upheld a law that barred any registered sex offender from posting to or even reading prominent social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter and others. Supporters contend that the law is needed “to prevent registered sex offenders from prowling on social media and gathering information about potential child targets.”  

Professor Volokh mocked the court’s decision – especially the finding that people barred from using prominent social media sites had ample alternatives – in The Volokh Conspiracy, his blog on the Washington Post: “That’s right: The people restricted by the law can’t read or post to Facebook, Twitter and so on. But no problem — the sex offender still has ample alternative channels, such as the Paula Deen Network, WRAL.com, Glassdoor.com and Shutterfly,” he wrote.

UCLA Law students Jeremy Page, Mike Romeo and Sydney Sherman worked on the amicus brief. The UCLA First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic files friend-of-the-court briefs on behalf of nonprofits and other litigants in a wide range of cases.