I was excited to get an announcement from the Section on Women in Legal Education announcing a couple of programs they are sponsoring at AALS. The one that really got me going is the program on CyberStalking, which OOTJ readers may have seen me blogging about here and here and here before.
Saturday, Jan. 9, 8:30–10:15 am: The First Amendment Meets Cyber-Stalking Meets Character and Fitness
Cyber-stalking and cyber-harassment have made their way to the legal academy. Some scholars say that on-line attacks constitute protected free speech. Other scholars say that this conduct is tortious and raises serious equality and civil rights concerns since internet stalking is often directed at women and minorities. But what about the character and fitness requirements that law students sitting for the bar must satisfy? Do law students who engage in harassment, smearing, and other such conduct (on Facebook, blogs, “Above the Law,” etc.) raise fitness and professionalism issues? Is there a problem with law students using websites to make outrageous gender- or race-specific comments (often about other students or faculty members)? (See http://lawvibe.com/the-autoadmit-scandal-xoxoth/
>) Is this conduct beyond question as free speech or does this conduct raise character and fitness issues that law schools must address? Does the fact that it is technologically difficult to identify all posters impact the calculus?
Deborah L. Rhode, Stanford Law School
Jack M. Balkin, Yale Law School
Brad Wendel, Cornell University School of Law
Danielle Citron, University of Maryland School of Law
Moderator: Elizabeth Nowicki, Boston Univ. School of Law, Tulane Law School, firstname.lastname@example.org
I am thrilled that the AALS program is taking this issue seriously!