Orin Kerr says he was brought in to be a mild dissenter. I fear I may have been set up to be the pig at the garden party.
So let me start by saying that Danielle Citron’s Cyber Civil Rights is a wonderful paper. It is right about many things, although I’d be prepared to wonder whether the expression-action distinction might not reflect something true, real, and valuable, or whether the current balance between libel and the ‘wild west’ of unregulated speech is really so bad. But never mind all that: for present purposes let’s stipulate that Cyber Civil Rights is right about all its facts — including (as I indeed have no doubt she is right) about the terrible harms being wreaked online by evil people at the expense of innocent victims who are (wildly) disproportionately female and minorities. And let’s further stipulate that the article is right about its novel and exciting statutory arguments concerning how existing civil rights law might be used to deal with that – stuff I had fun thinking about and enjoyed teaching too.
Nevertheless, I have deep, deep problems with the paper’s proposed remedy — because there’s something critical that the paper leaves out.