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The Supreme Court signaled it may strike down a NC sex offender social media ban


The Supreme Court signaled Monday that it may strike down a North Carolina law that prevents convicted sex offenders from using social media. 

Several of the justices suggested that the state law, which makes it a felony for sex offenders to access platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, may violate the First Amendment, USA Today reports. 

In fact, justices cited President Donald Trump's use of Twitter as a reason why sex offenders shouldn't be barred from social media platforms. The justices expressed concern that the North Carolina law would limit sex offenders' access to places that have become important platforms for political information and conversations.

"Increasingly, this is the way people get ... all information," Justice Elena Kagan said. "This is the way people structure their civic community life."

Deputy North Carolina Attorney General Robert Montgomery fired back, arguing that although this will limit sex offenders' access to social media, it doesn't cut them off from the internet entirely. 

"This is a part of the internet, but it's not the entire internet that is being taken away from these offenders," Montgomery said. 

At least 13 states defended North Carolina's law in legal papers, which called the law a way to prevent social networking sites from being used in sex crimes, USA Today reports. 

State officials focused their case on Lester Packingham Jr., but that may not have been to their advantage. Packingham was convicted of a sex crime in 2002 and only served two years of probation. 

He was arrested eight years later when he got out of a parking ticket and posted about it on Facebook. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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