U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan last week suggested that Twitter is integral to the public interest, during a hearing on whether a sex offender in North Carolina should be allowed to utilize social media. In questioning state attorney Robert Montgomery, Kagan said:
I mean, we're sort of aware of it because the President now uses Twitter. But in fact, everybody uses Twitter. All 50 governors, all 100 senators, every member of the House has a Twitter account. So this has become a crucial -- crucially important channel of political communication.
Montgomery began to reply about the existence of alternatives, at which point Justice Anthony Kennedy suggested agreement with Kagan, arguing that Twitter is similar to the public square of old.
Assuming we had a public square a hundred years ago, could you say that this person couldn't go into the public square? The -- the sites that Justice Kagan has described and their utility and their -- and their -- extent of their coverage are -- are greater than the communication you could ever had, even in the paradigm of public square.