The Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling on Monday when it unanimously voted to strike down a North Carolina law that bars the use of commercial social networking sites, including Facebook, by registered sex offenders.
CNN reported that after a lower court upheld the law, lawyers for registered sex offender Lester Gerard Packingham argued that the law is too broad and swept in their client even though his Facebook posting concerned the fact that his parking ticket was dismissed.
“No fine, no court costs, nothing spent… Praise be to God,” he wrote.
When police came upon the post, Packingham was arrested for violating the law that says “it is unlawful for a sex offender who is registered …to access a commercial social networking site where the sex offender knows that the site permits minor children to become members or to create or maintain personal Web pages on the commercial social networking site.”
The state of North Carolina argued that the law was passed to “confront the threat sexual predators pose to children.”
However, Packingham’s lawyers argued that the section of the law in question “imposes criminal punishment for activity fully protected under the First Amendment.”
Lawyer David T. Goldberg told the court during oral arguments that the law reaches “vast swaths of core First Amendment activity that is totally unrelated to the government’s preventative purpose” and that it is “totally unrelated to the government’s preventative purpose.” He added that Packingham was not accused of communicating with or viewing the profile of a minor, but “speaking to his friends and family” about his experience in traffic court.
Do you support this ruling, or did the Supreme Court get it wrong? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.