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Weinstein quoted in 'The Associated Press,' 'State Press'
, Amelia Lewis Professor of Constitutional Law at the College of Law, was quoted in an April 4
article, “Ariz. bill against ‘annoying’ online to get change,” by reporter Terry Tang.
The article reported on an Arizona bill that would update telephone and harassment stalking laws by adding the use of computers and smartphones. Under the law, words that someone could view as “annoying” or “offensive” on Facebook and Twitter could be deemed a criminal offense, according to the article.
Weinstein said the changes to the law’s wording leaves it vulnerable to being overturned. Unlike telephones, online chatter is open to a much wider audience, Weinstein said.
“Now that they’re extending it to the Internet generally or electronic media generally, it loses that natural limitation to targeted individuals,” he said. “I think this is just bad drafting.”
Weinstein said this law may lead to some self-censoring, but he doesn’t think it will results in a rush of persecutions.
“Even the world’s worst prosecutor wouldn’t prosecute” someone for being offensive or annoying online, he said.
The article was also featured on Salon.com, ABC News and NPR, and in
The Seattle Times, The San Francisco Chronicle
The Kansas City Star
To read the article, click
Weinstein was also featured in an April 5
article on the bill titled, “Legislation to prohibit Internet ‘trolling.’”
“People have First Amendment rights to use profanity and to annoy people,” Weinstein said. “If you write a blog defending Obamacare, and I want to tell you what a jerk you are, I have a First Amendment right to do that.”
Weinstein is also concerned that the bill is “probably substantially overbroad,” and may be unconstitutional.
To read the story, click
Weinstein’s areas of academic interest are constitutional law, especially free speech, as well as jurisprudence and legal history. He is co-editor of
Extreme Speech and Democracy
, the author of
Hate Speech, Pornography and the Radical Attack on Free Speech Doctrine
, and has written numerous articles in law review symposia on a variety of free speech topics, including: free speech theory, obscenity doctrine, institutional review boards, commercial speech, database protection, campaign finance reform, the relationship between free speech and constitutional rights, hate crimes, and campus speech codes.