Revisiting the Limits on Judicial Expression in the Digital Age: Striving Towards Proportionally in the Cyberintimidation Context
National Journal of Constitutional Law, 2018, Forthcoming
37 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2017 Last revised: 14 Jul 2017
Date Written: June 25, 2017
Customarily subservient to their duty of reserve, judges are not known to offer comment to the media, let alone pen perspectives visible to readers both on and offline. How, if at all, might that change in the face of a lamentably increasing vituperative excoriation targeting not only the judicial branch itself but ad hominem attacks directed at individual magistrates? A phenomenon exacerbated by digital media, which, unlike its traditional predecessors, can effortlessly facilitate mob justice, irreparable ignominy or even vigilantism as a blunt and far-reaching instrument of dishonor.
The question of judicial cyber intimidation raises a broader institutional dimension, one related to the protection of democratic institutions, their future and diversity, which extends far beyond the merely distasteful personal attacks visited on an individual member of the judiciary. Indeed, women’s peculiar vulnerability to online trolling and cyber harassment, merits special attention. Accordingly, this paper revisits the proper limits on extrajudicial speech in light of the peculiar exigencies of the digital age and of the phenomenon of cyberintimidation in particular.
Keywords: Judges, Freedom of Expression, Judicial Ethics, Constitutional Law, Internet Law, Cyber Intimidation, Cyber Equality, Womens' Equality
JEL Classification: Law
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation