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Inside Legal Blogs
[By Jeff] It seems like just last week when I last came to you with tidings of comfort and joy from the ever-expanding law blogosphere. Apparently, that wasn’t good enough for you, so I’m back again with a suitcase full of blog.

The highly anticipated Harvard Law School Bloggership Conference is now over. I wasn’t able to participate in the conference, as I had to be in Rochester, New York, for my nephew’s bris. But that’s okay because Ann Althouse was live-blogging from the conference, and reading her blog reports from last week is almost as good as being there. Concurring Opinions has a cool summary of everything that went down, but that’s still not concise enough for me. If it can’t be distilled into one easy-to-skim sentence, it’s not worth paying attention to. Here is my extra-concise breakdown of the conference:

President, the immigration debate, the war, or whatever—you may find yourself in trouble with your boss. Should your boss find your Internet activities to be potentially offensive or alienating to clients or damaging to the company, you could be disciplined or fired. The esteemed Volokh Conspiracy posted an article about how California, South Carolina, and Louisiana are protecting bloggers and Internet chatters from reprisal by their employers. The pertinent legislation is as follows (courtesy of Volokh): Cal. Labor Code § 0: No employer shall

of threats of…loss of employment in case such employees should support or become affiliated with any particular political faction or organization, or participate in political activities of any nature or character.... S.C. Code Ann. § 6-7-560: Whoever shall…[discharge from employment] any citizen because of political opinions or the exercise of political rights and privileges guaranteed to every citizen of the United States by the Constitution…thereof…shall be guilty of a misdemeanor [and subject to civil liability]…. This is different from saying something libelous online. Obviously, if you say your boss engages in sexual congress with ostriches, it’s different from saying some public figure, such as the President, engages in sexual congress with ostriches. If you don’t live in California, South Carolina or Louisiana, you might land in trouble for writing things your boss doesn’t agree with on the Internet. Of course, even if you do live in those states, you could still wind up in hot water. Volokh’s assessment points out that each individual jurisdiction determines what constitutes “political action” and that anything you say that is directly damaging to the company can still get you canned.

PANEL  Blogging is fun. PANEL 2 Blogging can be academic sometimes. PANEL 3 Freedom of speech. PANEL 4 Start blogging. That’s pretty much it, except the real conference lasted nearly nine hours. Actually, some good points were raised about how fun and breezy blogs can make good companion pieces to long boring law review articles. Eric Goldman, in his Bloggership Conference recap, quotes one speaker who drew the analogy that blogs are to scholarship as music videos are to movies. Despite the blog lovefest, there do remain some dangers inherent to blogging. If you go on the Internet and write something controversial—whether it involves the

make, adopt, or enforce any rule, regulation, or policy: (a) Forbidding or preventing employees from engaging or participating in politics or from becoming candidates for public office. (b) Controlling or directing, or tending to control or direct the political activities. Cal. Labor Code § 02: No employer shall… attempt to coerce or influence his employees through or by means of threat of discharge ... to adopt or follow or refrain from adopting or following any particular course or line of political action or political activity. La. Rev. Stat. § 23:96: [N]o employer having regularly in his employ twenty or more employees shall make…or enforce any… policy…preventing any of his employees from… participating in politics, or from becoming a candidate for public office…[nor] adopt or enforce any…policy which will…tend to control or direct the political activities or affiliations of his employees, nor…attempt to coerce or influence any of his employees by means

In terms of speaking out about the President, recent trends have shown that the latitude granted in criticizing the executive branch is inversely proportional to his approval ratings. When his approval ratings were up, you could get kicked out of the mall for wearing an anti-Bush shirt. Now that his ratings have dipped, they’ve finally let the Dixie Chicks out of Guantanamo Bay.


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From the blawg gossip department, it seems that the feud between Ben Cowgill of Ben

be on ethical thin ice. Schaeffer wrote in his blog that Cowgill was making a big deal out of nothing. Even Ben Cowgill gets the blues. After some sniping back and forth, the two patched things up. They even developed a mutual referring network. It’s nice to see those two kids back together. After Heather Locklear and Richie Sambora broke up, I started to lose faith.

Big ups to everybody out there making it happen on the law blogosphere. Next week, we will be discussing matters of impending urgency for all law bloggers and a few stray items of no importance to anyone. Be there!

Cowgill on Legal Ethics and Evan Schaeffer of Evan Schaeffer’s Legal Underground is over at long last. We previously reported a rift between the two, stemming from a disagreement over the ethical ramifications of ghostwritten blogs. Cowgill warned that members of the LexBlog network who pay for prefabricated blogs may