Barry P. McDonald, professor of law, recently shared legal expertise with the Los Angeles Times and Southern California Public Radio's Air Talk. In the Times article McDonald discussed the U.S. Supreme Court's rejection of the majority of the 9th Circuit Courts decisions. On Air Talk, he spoke on a case in which a half-hearted death threat was posted in a Yahoo! chatroom against President Obama during his candidacy in 2008.
Regarding the Supreme Court and the 9th circuit, McDonald said he believes the Court is becoming tired of what they see as a refusal by the lower court to follow Supreme Court precedent. "It just seems that they are getting a bit frustrated with these criminal procedure cases,” he said when referring to unanimous reversals of three opinions written by Reinhardt and a decision by another 9th circuit panel to strike the conviction of a Sacramento rapist who claimed racial bias during jury selection.
On Air Talk, McDonald explained that new social media has changed the debate about threats toward political candidates. He commented, “As the defense points out, these offensive statements that this guy made were surrounded by other offensive statements. The defense emphasized that you have to look at the whole context in which this statement was made and how a reasonable listener would perceive this particular statement being made.” Listen to the interview here.
McDonald, who joined the Pepperdine Law faculty in 2000, is a recognized scholar in the area of First Amendment law. He teaches courses in constitutional law, First Amendment law, and intellectual property law. He has published several articles and essays on the law governing freedom of expression and religion in journals such as the Emory Law Journal, Northwestern University Law Review, Notre Dame Law Review, Ohio State Law Journal, and Washington & Lee Law Review.