The Supreme Court appeared uninterested on Tuesday in siding with a family seeking liability against Google for their daughter’s murder in a terrorist assault, in the first case involving the federal legislation credited with helping build the modern internet.
Over the course of two and a half hours of oral arguments, the justices seemed concerned about reshaping the internet through their interpretation of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a law from 1996 that protects Google, Twitter, Facebook, and other companies from lawsuits over content posted by others.
We are in the dark about these matters. Some of the other justices giggled at Justice Elena Kagan’s description of herself and her colleagues as “the nine best experts on the internet,” because that’s not at all what they are.
Kagan argued that a statute enacted at the dawn of the internet age should be updated by Congress rather than the courts.
In a decision that appeared to transcend ideological boundaries, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, one of the court’s six conservatives, sided with his liberal colleague.
Kavanaugh questioned, “Isn’t it preferable to preserve things the way they are and… put the responsibility on Congress to modify that?”
It all started in 2015, when Nohemi Gonzalez, an American college student, was killed in a terrorist assault in Paris. Her loved ones were in the courtroom to hear the case against Google-owned YouTube for allegedly aiding the Islamic State in its efforts to recruit new members in breach of the Anti-Terrorism Act.