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April 2, 2017

"Briefing the Supreme Court: Promoting Science or Myth?"

The title of this post is the title of this new timely essay authored by Melissa Hamilton now available via SSRN. Here is the abstract:

The United States Supreme Court is considering Packingham v. North Carolina, a case testing the constitutionality of a ban on the use of social networking sites by registered sex offenders.  An issue that has arisen in the case is the state‚Äôs justification for the ban.  North Carolina and thirteen other states represented in a friend of the court brief make three claims concerning the risk of registered sex offenders: (1) sex offenders have a notoriously high rate of sexual recidivism; (2) sex offenders are typically crossover offenders in having both adult and child victims; and (3) sexual predators commonly use social networking sites to lure children for sexual exploitation purposes.  The collective states contend that these three claims are supported by scientific evidence and common sense.  This Essay explores the reliability of the scientific studies cited in the briefings considering the heteregenous group of registered sex offenders to whom the social networking ban is targeted.

April 2, 2017 at 02:53 PM | Permalink


Misconstrued scientific evidence taken out of context from a very old Psychology Today magazine. That's their evidence.
As for the common sense, if they support the ban, they have none.

Posted by: kat | Apr 3, 2017 10:24:13 AM

As I mentioned in a previous post (labeled "helpful by Joe), the "justification" seems almost entirely besides the point. Having the basic liberty of one's speech being seriously restricted (or even conditioned) IS punishment under any rational understanding of the term. Thus, to the extent it is ex post facto, it is unconstitutional.

In my view, to even entertain "balancing tests" etc. is to subscribe to the same perniciousness that gave us the four dissents in CU--a case which, I might add, tested whether the federal government could criminalize political speech. It never ceases to amaze me how those who want to take up the cudgel for scum like Packingham don't give a hoot about the free speech rights of the rest of us.

Posted by: federalist | Apr 3, 2017 2:22:10 PM

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