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Twitter and the #So-Called Judge

Elizabeth Thornburg


Twitter and the #So-Called Judge


One-hundred-forty characters may be insufficient to deliver a treatise on the judiciary, but it is more than enough to deliver criticism of the third branch of government. Today, these tweeted critiques sometimes come not from the general public but from the President himself. Attacks such as these come at a challenging time for court systems. We live in a highly politicized, polarized society. This polarization is reflected in attitudes toward the courts, particularly the federal courts. Unfortunately, public doubts about the court system come at a time when public understanding of the structure of government, and especially the court system, is abysmally low.

All of this context raises a number of related questions. When the prolific executive tweeter calls out a federal judge, is President Trump just venting or has he tapped into a strong subset of American opinion on the judiciary? And, if so, does a “so-called judge” have a role in engaging, informing, perhaps even rebutting these opinions? Further, could 140 characters be an effective platform to use in fulfilling that role?

This article will address the specific issue of judges using Twitter to promote the interests of the courts as institutions. After section II’s brief description of the mechanics of Twitter, section III will discuss why and how judges communicate through Twitter.

Section IV will sound a note of caution based on two factors:

1) a web of judicial ethics rules that limit judicial speech (including Twitter); and

2) the nature of the Twitter experience and the way people use it, which can hinder attempts to effectively reach the desired audience.

The article will conclude by arguing that in this day and age, when much of America gets its news from social media and those platforms are being used to delegitimize the judiciary, the third branch can ill afford to disengage. Judicial tweeting, within the limits of the ethics rules, should be encouraged rather than shunned.

From Tweeter to Terrorist: Combatting Online Propaganda When Jihad Goes Viral

Donna Farag


From Tweeter to Terrorist: Combatting Online Propaganda When Jihad Goes Viral


More than 6,900 Westerners have traveled to Syria as foreign fighters for terrorist organizations, most notably ISIS. At least 150 of the foreign fighters were from the United States, and as of February 2017, 109 Americans have been charged with crimes related to supporting ISIS. This Note explores ISIS’s organized social mediacampaigns and its success in attracting Western recruits. It discusses proposals to curb ISIS’s online impact and the constitutional implications of the government adopting such proposals. This Note argues that in limited situations, judicial review of the government’s content based regulations over social media algorithms to combat terrorist propaganda should be subject to only intermediate — rather than strict — scrutiny.

Bill targeting online sex trafficking faces tech groups’ opposition

the hill.png

Bill targeting online sex trafficking faces tech groups’ opposition

Ten internet trade associations have cosigned a letter to the chairs of the Senate Homeland Security subcommittee on investigations protesting the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, which the groups say erodes Communications Decency Act protections. The associations say the bill would force them to take down a high volume of user content and face heavy liability burdens.

The Hill 

Officials can’t block critics on social media platforms, court finds


Officials can’t block critics on social media platforms, court finds

Government officials violate the First Amendment in cases where they block people on social media platforms for expressing critical views, US District Judge James Cacheris found. A Virginia county official contended that a man she temporarily blocked from her Facebook page could express himself through other channels, but Cacheris held that other methods of expression do not equate to social media.


Working at Facebook


Working at Facebook

The article below examines not only how to get a job at Facebook, but also what life is like at a very large social media provider.

Glassdoor.com: Want to Work at Facebook? How to Get Hired & Succeed


Property Interests in Digital Assets: The Rise of Digital Feudalism

Natalie Banta


Property Interests in Digital Assets: The Rise of Digital Feudalism


The emergence of digital assets has created a host of new legal questions regarding their status as a property interest. Digital assets consist of intangible interests like e-mail accounts, social media accounts, reward points, and electronic media. These assets seem like a property interest, but because digital assets are a creature of contract, private contracts determine whether an owner can use, sell, transfer, exclude, donate, or dispose of the asset in a testamentary instrument. These digital asset contracts often take an unprecedented step of prohibiting or severely limiting the transfer of digital assets after death. By unilaterally eviscerating a long cherished right of property — the right to devise — these contracts create digital assets that are more akin to a license or tenancy instead of a fee simple absolute. Contractual terms controlling digital assets create a system this Article calls “digital feudalism,” characterized by absolutism, hierarchy, and a concentration of power. This Article examines property interests imbued in digital assets, namely the rights to use, control, exclude, and transfer. It analyzes digital assets under the labor, utilitarian, and personhood theories to justify their existence as a form of property. As a form of property, this Article argues that property law protects an individual’s rights to her digital assets — rights like testamentary disposition that cannot be contracted away. Property law has always mirrored society’s decisions about how to control and allocate resources and our treatment of digital assets are no different. Digital assets themselves function so similarly to property that we must apply traditional property law principles to ensure that our rights over digital assets do not regress into an anti-democratic and archaic form of feudalism in a technologically driven future.

Judge places Wis. ordinance on augmented-reality games on hold

Texas Ropen

Judge places Wis. ordinance on augmented-reality games on hold

US District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller on Thursday temporarily blocked Wisconsin’s Milwaukee County from requiring special-use permits for augmented-reality developers whose games are played in the county’s parks. The preliminary injunction prevents enforcement of the law until the issue has gone to trial, which could happen in April.