On May 8, 2012, yours truly wrote an article on this very blog about a decision by a federal judge in Virginia who, on April 24, 2012, ruled that “liking” a Facebook page was not expression protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. U.S. District Court Judge Raymond A. Jackson ruled that “merely ‘liking’ a Facebook page is insufficient speech to merit constitutional protection.” There were a significant number in the legal community who set about scratching their collective heads about this ruling.
On September 18, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit weighed in and reversed Judge Jackson’s decision. “That a user may use a single mouse click to produce that message that he likes the page instead of typing the same message with several individual key strokes is of no constitutional significance.” See page 40 of Fourth Circuit opinion here.
Sometimes courts err. Judges are humans too. At times, even the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned its own decisions.