CFP: First Amendment Meets Cyber-Stalking Meets Character and Fitness

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From the AALS Section on Women in Legal Education, this call for papers:

The First Amendment Meets Cyber-Stalking Meets Character and Fitness

2010 AALS Annual Meeting
New Orleans, Louisiana

Cyber-harassment has made its way to the legal academy, in part by way of the Auto-Admit debacle implicating law students and in part by way of other similar situations.  The resulting dialogue has raised legal issues related to ethics, gender equality, freedom of speech, and internet regulation and liability.   Some legal scholars say that on-line attacks by law students, prospective law students, or lawyers, while noxious, constitute protected speech that should not be penalized.  Others say that on-line attacks can raise sexual harassment or civil rights concerns given that the conduct often targets women.  Still others say that outrageous on-line conduct by law students, prospective law students, or lawyers raises character and fitness concerns, particularly when the conduct is overtly racist or gendered.

Discussion about these issues is complicated by internet anonymity and evolving internet-related case law, and more questions are raised than are answered.   Is it a problem when gender- or race-specific comments are made on the internet by law students, prospective law students, jurists, or lawyers?  What, if anything, should be done in response to this conduct by law schools, bar examiners, or state disciplinary counsel?  More generally and not specific to law students or lawyers, should cyber-harassment be addressed by legislation, litigation, regulation, or prosecution?  How?

On January 9, 2010, at the AALS Annual Meeting, the AALS Section on Women in Legal Education will present a program, co-sponsored by the AALS Section on Defamation and Privacy, titled  ”The First Amendment Meets Cyber-Stalking Meets Character and Fitness” to discuss some of these issues.  As part of this program, there will be a panel discussion with confirmed panelists including Brad Wendel (Cornell University School of Law), Jack M. Balkin (Information Society Project, Yale Law School) and Deborah L. Rhode (Stanford Law School).

This call for papers solicits papers, essays, or paper proposals on any related topic, to be presented as part of this program at the AALS Annual Meeting.  Acceptable paper topics might be related to, for example, law and gender, internet or computer law, civil rights, criminal law, intellectual property, defamation or legal ethics.

How to Submit: If you are interested in presenting a paper as part of this program, please submit either a paper proposal or a draft paper by  September 10, 2009, to Professor Elizabeth Nowicki, Chair of the AALS Section on Women in Legal Education, at  enowicki@tulane.edu.  Presenters will be notified by October 10, 2009.

Papers which are already accepted for publication may be submitted.  All participants will be responsible for their own travel and conference registration expenses.

What a great program topic!

-Bridget Crawford

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