Title: Facebook v. the Florida Bar
Authors: Daniel F. O'Brien
Addresses: St. Thomas University School of Law, 16401 NW 37th Avenue, Miami Lakes, Florida 33054, USA
Abstract: The piece discusses social networking websites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter and MySpace) and their importance vis-à-vis the First Amendment in terms of communicating ideas (i.e., the market places of ideas), self-expression and discovery, and political expression and discussion. I emphasise the importance of this because the generation of law school graduates currently applying to take the bar is one of the first to grow up with ready access to the internet from a young age. This paper examines the recent proposals of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners (FBBE) to screen the social network pages of certain applicants to the Florida Bar. I argue that the guidelines are unconstitutionally vague and overbroad and as a result will have a chilling effect on speech if not clarified and the information on how the screening process works is then made easily available to bar candidates.
Keywords: First Amendment; internet; Facebook; bar admissions; Florida Board of Bar Examiners; FBBE; freedom of speech; chilling effect; social networking; world wide web; USA; Twitter; MySpace; communication; ideas; self-expression; discoveries; politics; political expression; discussion; United States Constitution; Bill of Rights; free speech; law schools; law graduates; legal education; higher education; universities; social networks; website screenings; screening processes; bar candidates; public law; public policy.
International Journal of Public Law and Policy, 2011 Vol.1 No.2, pp.127 - 153
Received: 08 May 2021
Accepted: 12 May 2021
Published online: 20 Sep 2011 *