UPDATE: SCOTUS grants cert; will hear NC Facebook case

By Robin Vanderwall . . . The United States Supreme Court has accepted the petition for a writ of certiorari from Lester Gerard Packingham who was arrested in 2012 for posting a message on Facebook in violation of North Carolina’s prohibition against sex offenders accessing social media websites. On petition to the U.S. Supreme Court since January 2016, the Packingham case was listed for conference four times. Packingham was previously decided by the N. C. Supreme Court in a 4-2 opinion where the majority held that prohibiting registered citizens from “accessing” social media networks permitting minors to create and maintain user profiles was constitutional in “all respects.”

Writing for the majority, Justice Robert H. “Bob” Edmunds reasoned that since the statute under review in Packingham concerned only conduct, and not speech, the impact to registered citizens’ First Amendment rights was merely incidental to the otherwise legitimate interest of the state in prohibiting such conduct. He further reasoned that there were already “ample alternative means” through which registered citizens could participate in expressive forums open and available to them. His reasoning was strained and tortured and his opinion was summarily dismembered by the dissent penned by Justice Robin E. Hudson.

For additional information and analyses of what’s at stake for the community of registered citizens throughout the entire nation, please read Eugene Volokh’s piece in the Washington Post. Prof. Volokh teaches free speech law, religious freedom law, church-state relations law, a First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic, and tort law, at UCLA School of Law and filed an Amicus Brief in support of the petition for Certiorari in the Packingham case.

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9 Thoughts to “UPDATE: SCOTUS grants cert; will hear NC Facebook case”

  1. I have never met or talked to this Robin Vanderwall guy but actually he has something there all he needs to do is a bit more study on it and let your conscious be your guide. Now I have did some articles on the constitution and about these sex sting operations and how they effect all of us.

    Now I’m going to have a challenge myself but speaking the truth is the truth and a lot of these registry things are so out of context that actually they are your masters for life. Did any on the registry kill anybody? Now that in itself could be an entirely different scenario.

    Robin should check out this site http://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_reli.html and actually James Madison said we should all live by the ten commandments but I don’t think that’s in the USA anymore. I guess the commandments don’t hold any water to police anymore or law and order.

    Shoot with all this confusion I might even be full of a hill of beans I don’t know.

  2. Avatarmfjbat

    Robin, thank you for all of the hard work you do for the sake of life, liberty and the pursuit of stomping out injustice. How can an entity like the Supreme Court just “pass” on something so important as the constitutional rights of American citizens? I don’t get it, isn’t that what they are there for in the first and last place? And why isn’t there a judicial review board of some type in place that checks the constitutionality of any law/statute/ordinance that is proposed by vote-grubbing personalities that think they are above constitutional law? What can a person who is on the registry do if they wish to be a John Doe in any upcoming cases in North Carolina?

    1. Avatarrwvnral

      Best advice I can give here is to contact NCRSOL (www.ncrsol.org) and let them know you’d like to be triaged as a possible plaintiff in a pending or an upcoming case. They’ve got an attorney who will be happy to assess your suitability. Thanks!

  3. AvatarLovecraft

    Thanks for keeping everyone informed Robin. The amount of time you put into this cause will certainly start paying dividends sooner than later. All I can say about the Packingham case is it’s been a long time coming with a long road ahead of us. I am cautiously optimistic that scotus will rule the NC law unconsitutional. Cheers to a successful first step!

    1. Avatarrwvnral

      Thanks! I’m just looking forward to the opportunity to write a smarmy letter to Justice Bob Edmunds of the NC Supreme Court. He wrote–or directed some poor clerk to write–the majority opinion in Packingham. It is one of the most poorly reasoned opinions I’ve ever seen. If I didn’t know better, I’d imagine that he was practically begging for a reversal. But sadly, he’s apparently less the jurist and more the tyrant. He’s up for re-election here. To watch his television ads, you’d think he was running to be a prosecutor rather than a supreme court justice.

    2. FredFred

      That is the problem with State Supreme Courts; they cater to the voters. Thank goodness the Federal Supreme Court isn’t tied down by that.

      I feel mostly confident that the SCOTUS will reverse the previous ruling. That should effectively end their law to “ban” registrants from “accessing” certain websites. However I am sure they will continue to require that registrants notify law enforcement immediately after creating an account on a website. So that still interferes with our 1st Amendment rights. I am hoping SCOTUS can say something in regards to that.

    3. Avatarrwvnral

      It’s a good point, Fred. I suspect it will largely depend on what the Supreme Court has to say. We can HOPE for a clear and unequivocal declaration of First Amendment rights. If the Court were to erase any distinctions between “regular” Americans and our particular subset of Americans–insofar as First Amendment rights are concerned–then that might set the stage for a normalizing of First Amendment rights across the board . . . which, we can also HOPE, might eventually include their right to speak anonymously (no more internet identifiers).

  4. Ok here’s moment of truth and the last comment I will post on here for a good while. There is a reason for all seasons. None of us on here want to be classified a sex offender. Is that as lowest one can get today? You know I can’t force anything on you but it seems the government can. Biblical views are example of man’s ups and downs. Take a good look at the constitution today as it is more man centered than the one that created us all. That in itself should have meaning. Where are the Ten commandmants in anything of law and order.

    Take a look at your election for President. This was bound to happen. One force over the other when the Creator already know’s the outcome. All of us have gone astray ok. Sure I am thankful that RSOL and all those involved in this registry want to stand and fight for justice. While I have my battle coming up soon it seems Robin is battling for a group that government seems are thelowest of the low and cannot be trusted in certain types of livelyhood. If adults can’t be responsible driving a car than how can they be responsible to conduct their daily lives or should they be watched in everything they do, read, or say.

    Man has always wanted to control man since the dawn of time. Even the Roman Soilders wanted to control man with their vain philosophy’s. If you take the ten commandments out of government and law than what do you have. I’d say a day of confusion. Look at this hungry power election today, doesn’t that tell us something.

  5. AvatarRajendra


    When big fishes get entangled in this dirty pond, the pond and its dirt won’t be hidden from the society much longer.

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