- “Court agrees that Google’s search results qualify as free speech” [Megan Geuss, ArsTechnica]
- “Manassas detective in teen sexting case sues teen’s lawyer for defamation” [Washington Post]
- Reports of SLAPP suit out of Chicago not quite as initially portrayed [Ken at Popehat]
- Compelled-speech update: Lexington, Ky. anti-bias commission orders employee training for t-shirt maker that objected to printing gay-pride messages [Kentucky.com, earlier]
- “NY high court says anti-cyberbullying law won’t pass First Amendment muster” [ABA Journal] New Arizona law against sending naked photos without subject’s consent could criminalize many sorts of speech [ACLU]
- UK scheme to muzzle nonviolent “extremists” just as horrid as it sounds, cont’d [Brendan O’Neill/Reason, earlier] Political director of U.K. Huffington Post calls for “sanctions” for press outlets that engage in “dishonest, demonizing” coverage of Muslims, immigrants, and asylum seekers [Guardian]
- SCOTUS should hear case re: right to engage in political advocacy without registering with government [Ilya Shapiro and Trevor Burrus, Cato; Vermont Right to Life Committee v. Sorrell]
- “Telling Employee He Is ‘Eligible’ For Bonus Not Enough to Create Contractual Obligation” [Chris Parkin/Daniel Schwartz; Connecticut appeals court]
- Richard Epstein on Obama’s anti-LGBT-discrimination edict for federal contractors [Hoover “Defining Ideas”]
- D.C. Circuit panel, Janice Rogers Brown writing, strikes down DC tour guide licensing scheme [Ilya Shapiro/Cato, WaPo, Orin Kerr]
- “Why Progressives Shouldn’t Support Public Workers Unions” [Dmitri Mehlhorn/Daily Beast]
- “James Sherk of Heritage on Members-Only Bargaining” [On Labor]
- As discrimination law gradually swallows all else: “Rep. Keith Ellison wants to make union organizing a civil right” [MSNBC]
- NY Senate committee gives approval to “workplace bullying” law. On thin constitutional ice? [Hans Bader/CEI, earlier]
In the North of England, “South Tyneside Council has abandoned its hunt for notorious blogger Mr Monkey after spending more than £200,000 of taxpayers’ cash.” [Chronicle] The widely read blog had made scurrilous charges against council members and others. “The authority said it had a ‘duty’ to protect staff and councillors against” what it called “cyber-bullying and harassment.” “Councils cannot sue for libel. Any action against the ‘Mr Monkey’ blogger could only be taken by named individuals.” [BBC] More: Daily Mail, Taxpayers Alliance.
We warned that there were First Amendment problems with the overbreadth of these legal proposals, and the New York Court of Appeals sees things the same way. [People v. Marquan M.; Volokh] Two dissenters would have cut down the scope of the law significantly and deemed the remainder constitutional, but the majority invalidated it in its entirety, whether applied to minors or persons of full legal age. We’ve earlier criticized cyber-bullying enactments and proposals in Maryland, Virginia and elsewhere.
- How the Progressive movement changed thinking on free speech [David Bernstein]
- More “bullying” legislation: “A crime for teenagers to excoriate their unfaithful or abusive lovers on Facebook?” [Eugene Volokh on pending Colorado bill] “Crime to spread rumors about under-25-year-olds, to send ‘hurtful, rude and mean messages’ about them, or to make fun of them online?” [same; pending ordinance in Carson, Calif.]
- “First Amendment protects Internet search results: N.Y. judge” [Alison Frankel, Reuters]
- Wisconsin + other states too: “Last week, the enlightened citizens of Shorewood, Whitefish Bay and several other communities voted to repeal the freedom of the press and of the free speech rights of organizations ranging from the NAACP to the National Rifle Association.” [Rick Esenberg, Shark and Shepherd]
- NYC comptroller Scott Stringer, posing in investor hat, demands that Texas firm Clayton Williams Energy Inc. explain its political giving [AP]
- Look before you leap: some proposals billed as criminalizing revenge porn appear to criminalize far more than that [Scott Greenfield]
- Consumer secretly videotapes allegedly unneeded repairs at Missouri Chevrolet dealership, litigation ensues [Popehat]
- Excellent Mark Oppenheimer column cites new Cornell study: students deprived of whole milk and chocolate milk as choices “drank less milk, threw more milk away, and bought fewer school lunches over all” [New York Times]
- “The process of tying curricular standards to federal money actually helps create the ‘ideological circus’ that [David] Brooks decries.” [Rick Hills, Prawfsblawg on Common Core]
- School choice lawsuits and legislation news updates from Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, and elsewhere [Jason Bedrick, Cato]
- More applications of New Jersey’s pioneering “anti-bullying” law. And will it stand up in court? [Hans Bader, earlier here, etc.]
- “When one New Zealand school tossed its playground rules and let students risk injury, the results were surprising” [Sarah Boesfeld, National Post (Canada)] Plenty of discussion of new Hanna Rosin piece “The Overprotected Kid” [Atlantic via Tabarrok; a contrasting view from Max Kennerly]
- News you can use about applicability of Institutional Review Board regs to research on oneself [Michelle Meyer, Bill of Health] Another new blog about IRBs [Suffocated Science via Instapundit]
- Community college suspends professor over Google Plus share of Game of Thrones quote on daughter’s T-shirt [Bergen Record]
- “Zero Tolerance Hurts Kids and Ruins Schools” [A. Barton Hinkle] “Teen’s military plans on hold after spending 13 days in jail” [WOIO, Ohio]
- Who knew the visiting scholar of conservative thought would turn out to be conservative? [Boulder Daily Camera re: U. of Colorado attacks on Steven Hayward]
- Case by case, courts take away right of taxpayers, lawmakers to regulate school spending [Steve Gunn, EAG News; earlier here, etc.]
- Heather Mac Donald on gangs and the case for school discipline [NRO] More: Ruben Navarrette, CNN.
- Editorial board endorses parent liability for school bullying [Newark Star-Ledger]
- States to GAO: feds’ school lunch changes aren’t going well [Jason Bedrick, Cato; Washington Post]
- Proposed Rhode Island law: “No Child Under 7th Grade Shall Get On or Off School Bus Without a Guardian” [Free-Range Kids] St. Louis: “Mom Arrested for Not Signing School Sign-In Book” [same]
The measure, introduced by Del. Mark Keam (D-Vienna), would criminalize online “bullying,” defined among other things to include behavior (or speech) intended to “harass” or “humiliate” when it “is repeated over time or causes severe emotional trauma,” but purportedly excluding “ordinary teasing, horseplay, argument, or peer conflict.” Unlike Maryland’s enactment of “Grace’s Law,” which I criticized last year, this one would not be limited to speech directed at minors. Another prerequisite for liability is that the online verbal aggression “involves a real or perceived power imbalance between” the parties, which can be expected to involve courts in some delicate inquiries. Eugene Volokh criticizes (“dangerous and deeply unsound”).
From Britain: “Domestic abuse involving “emotional blackmail” – but no violence – could become a criminal offense carrying a heavy jail term under tough new measures published for the first time.” [David Barrett, Telegraph]:
“Critically, its [the draft’s] definition of abuse includes “controlling or coercive behavior” which would “encompass but is not limited to physical, financial, sexual, psychological or emotional abuse”.
“Controlling behavior” would also lead to criminal charges, including when a partner makes another person “subordinate”, “exploits their resources” or “deprives them of the means needed for independence”.
The offense would apply to abuse committed against any spouse, partner or former partner, regardless of gender.
As Pamela Stubbart notes at the Daily Caller, when based on purely psychological and emotional interactions and states of dependence, concepts like “control” and “coercion” are at best highly subjective affairs, inviting unpredictable legal application as well as he-said-she-said legal battles in the wake of breakups or other relationship failures. The measure would also threaten criminal liability for some speech (e.g., emotionally hurtful insults not involving threats of violence) that would often be included in definitions of free speech. Meanwhile, a ban on exploiting partners’ resources or denying partners financial independence threatens to throw a shadow of criminal liability over many marital and romantic arrangements long deemed unproblematic, whether or not egalitarian.
Barrett in the Telegraph notes that while the cross-party group of Members of Parliament who are introducing the bill do not speak for the Cameron administration, they have a record of some success at getting their ideas on domestic violence enacted into legislation. Offenses will carry a sentence of up to 14 years in prison.
Related: periodic proposals in state legislatures and elsewhere to ban “workplace bullying” (more) raise some of the same issues, as do enactments (like “Grace’s Law” in Maryland) endeavoring to ban “cyber-bullying.”
- Far-reaching, little-discussed new regulation: Stewart Baker on NIST rules mandating cybersecurity at private enterprises [Volokh; first, second, third, fourth posts]
- “Ominous Developments on the Internet Governance Front” [David Post]
- “The Exaggeration Of The Cyberbullying Problem Is Harming Anti-Bullying Efforts” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt]
- “Will California’s New Data Breach Notification Duty Stimulate Class Action Litigation?” [Glenn Lammi, WLF]
- Some thoughts on how the law should treat domestic drones, public and private [Kenneth Anderson]
- Privacy lawsuit against Gmail could do a lot of damage [Mike Masnick, TechDirt; Matt Powers, CEI “Open Market”, parts one, two]
- Warning: more efforts ahead from legal academia to come up with stringent liability schemes for software makers [New Republic and Lawfare]