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Facebook will get face time with judges

A federal appeals court has allowed oral argument time for a Facebook lawyer when it hears the appeal of a controversial Virginia free speech ruling next week.

Norfolk federal judge Raymond Jackson decided there was no constitutional violation when a sheriff fired one of his deputies allegedly for clicking the “Like” button on the Facebook page of the sheriff’s political opponent.

A Facebook “Like” is not the kind of “substantive statement” that warrants free speech protection under the law, Jackson said.

Facebook begs to differ, and will be allowed three minutes of oral argument when a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hears the case next week. A Facebook “Like” is the 21st-century equivalent of a front-yard campaign sign, Facebook said in its amicus brief.

One comment

  1. Michael Horwatt

    The court’s opinion flies in the face of many First Amendment cases upholding the right of puBlic employees to express their political views. The court’s disclaimer that pushing “Like” on a Facebook page expressing a positive view of an opposing candidate during an election much less falls outside the protection of the First Amendment is to say the least disquieting, unsound, and against the grain of free speech jurisprudence

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