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Next week in the Judiciary committees, shields and cyberbullies

Divers items of interest from the committee hearing schedule, starting with the Senate Judiciary Committee:

September 30, Full Committee, to hold hearings to examine advancing freedom of information in the New Era of Responsibility, 10 a.m., SD-226. [Details]

September 30, Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts, to hold hearings to examine responding to the growing need for federal judgeships, focusing on the Federal Judgeship Act of 2009, 2:30 p.m., SD-226. [Details]

The New Era of Responsibility? Huh. Whose slogan is that?

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday also continues its months-long effort to mark up the Free Flow of Information Act, i.e., the federal media shield bill, although the panel appears to be making progress. On September 24, the committee adopted a substitute amendment to S. 448. (UPDATE: Broadcasting & Cable summarizes the substitute amendment.)

On the House side, this caught our eye:

September 30, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, hearing on Cyberbullying and other Online Safety Issues for Children, including the following bills: H.R. 1966, Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act; and H.R. 3630, Adolescent Web Awareness Requires Education Act, 3 p.m., 2141 Rayburn.

Here's the description of H.R. 1966: "Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act - Amends the federal criminal code to impose criminal penalties on anyone who transmits in interstate or foreign commerce a communication intended to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to another person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behavior."

Which, if passed, will certainly lead to the use of the "smiley emoticon defense": "It wasn't harassment. It was a fun and ironic message! You saw me use all those colons and close parentheses."

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.