4th Grader smarter than the ABA

As you are probably aware, the ABA has issued Formal Opinion 462, which discusses a judge's participation in "electronic social media" sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.

This morning I learned I was quoted in Leigh Jones' National Law Journal article on the opinion. The article is available here: http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticlePrinterFriendlyNLJ.jsp?id=1202589839064.

At breakfast, I told my ten-year-old son, Liam, that I was quoted in the paper. He asked what it was about, and I told him, "It's about judges being on social media networks liked Facebook . . . ."

"Why would they need to do that?" Liam asked. "What are they going to say, 'I am trying an exciting case?'" Liam later added, "What they say is up there [on the internet] forever."

As my comments in the NLJ article suggest, I think Liam is right -- and the ABA wrong -- on this one. Judges should not participate in social media sites like non-judges do. If they do, it risks creating the wrong impression to the public, undermining faith in our judicial system.

If judges want to use social networks to carry out their official duties, that would be fine. But then the act of "friending" should be available to all lawyers (and others) who want access, and the material should be administrative.

And Liam, although I appreciate that you are taking some of my warnings about the internet to heart, you are still not ready for your own website.

ABA Opinion 462 (February 21, 2013) is available here: http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/professional_responsibility/formal_opinion_462.authcheckdam.pdf