U.S. Supreme Court Unanimously Strikes Down Law Banning Sex Offenders from Using Facebook

A unanimous (8-0) U.S. Supreme Court struck down a North Carolina law that banned registered sex offenders from using social media (such as Facebook), as it the Court deemed it a violation of the First Amendment. The case is titled Packingham v. North Carolina.

Despite the unanimity, the Court was divided on how far the First Amendment prohibits states from preventing sex offenders on the web. The majority (in an opinion by Justice Kennedy) took a broad, sweeping view, arguing that the internet was akin to a public space.

Opinions: Ziglar v. Abbasi, and Packingham v. North Carolina
Justice Anthony Kennedy, writer of the majority opinion in Packingham v. North Carolina

The concurring opinion (by Justice Alito, joined by Justices Thomas and Chief Justice Roberts) stated that it there were real differences between cyberspace and the physical world, and that the majority opinion was far too “loose” in its “rhetoric” and that the opinion had much “undisciplined dicta.”

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U.S. Supreme Court building, Washington, D.C.

More commentary here and here.

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