by Eric Goldman, Professor of Law, Santa Clara University School of Law
In 1996, Congress became concerned that excessive liability would threaten the free flow of information over the Internet. To protect the Internet from this risk, Congress passed 47 USC § 230 (Section 230), which eliminates (with limited exceptions) the liability of online services for publishing third party content.
By any measure, Section 230 has been a remarkable success. Think about the Internet services you use daily, such as Google, Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, Twitter, eBay, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and Yelp. All of them publish third party content, and all of them have flourished because of Section 230’s immunity. Section 230 also promotes competitive markets by reducing entry costs. New entrants can challenge the marketplace leaders without having to match the incumbents’ editorial investments or incurring fatal liability risks.
We are deeply disappointed by the administration’s decision today to rescind protection under the program for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). As we said last week, we believe this is a big step back for our entire country.
The question for individuals, employers and the country is what we do now.
By Lena Zwarensteyn, ACS Director of Strategic Engagement
Our federal judiciary is in jeopardy. Courts are often the last defense for our Constitution. Federal courts make decisions about how we are treated in the workplace, how the law regards women, racial minorities, and those with disabilities, among others, consumer protections, the safety of our environment, our right to vote, and our immigration system – just to name a few issues.
And yet, we have a President that has attacked individual judges and courts.
Indeed, he campaigned with a list of potential nominees to the Supreme Court that he repeatedly emphasized would be the most conservative jurists he could find, and he was certain they passed a series of litmus tests, including on reproductive rights and gun safety laws.
by Nicholas Kalin, President, ACS George Mason University School of Law Student Chapter, and Arya Shirani, Vice President, ACS George Mason University School of Law Student Chapter
US Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos appeared at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University’s Arlington campus to announce changes to the previous protocols regarding Title IX and sexual assault.
If the proposed policy shifts are put into place, sexual assault survivors will face greater pressure to contact the police instead of speaking to a trusted member of their university. Supporters of the previous policy state that students have been more comfortable reporting sexual assaults since the present policies took effect. We believe that the heightened requirement and the greater burden of proof required will make it less likely for survivors to come forward. We believe that the previous policy, while imperfect, allowed survivors to occupy a safer and more comfortable learning environment. This is a dangerous precedent to set. While we hope that not a single rape will occur and these policies will never be needed, we realize that is not the world we live in. The further weakening of Title IX practices and returning power to the schools will only erase the advances made for the rights of sexual assault survivors.
by Samuel L. Rubinstein, American Constitution Society Strategic Engagement Fellow
As attorney Jack D’Aurora persuasively argued in a recent column in the Columbus Dispatch, rampant spending and lax ethics rules have contributed to a crisis of confidence in the Ohio judiciary. According to the Brennan Center’s New Politics of Judicial Elections Report, in 2014, more than $3.2 million was spent on Ohio Supreme Court races alone, the 5th most in the nation, with more than 22% of that coming from outside groups. This isn’t new, as Ohio saw more TV ads for Supreme Court elections than any state, every year in the 2000-2009 decade.