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Supreme Court weighs law banning sex offenders from Facebook

RALEIGH, N.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court is taking up the case of a North Carolina man who beat a traffic ticket and posted about his victory on Facebook, a place he was forbidden to be.

The Supreme Court hears arguments Monday as 36-year-old Lester Packingham Jr. claims a state law violates his constitutional rights to free speech by banning convicted sex offenders like him from social media sites.

Packingham’s conviction for violating the social-media ban was upheld by North Carolina’s highest court in a divided ruling.

The state Supreme Court said the law addressed websites that might allow sex offenders to gather information about or communicate with minors. Dissenting state justices disagreed, saying the ban goes too far and could outlaw reading the New York Times and Food Network web sites.