Facebook announced a new Oversight Board to act in a Supreme Court-like body for moderating content on the social media site. The board is compromised of 20 members, including Pamela Karlan, the constitutional law expert who testified in favor of the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
Karlan is a professor and co-direct of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic at Stanford University. She testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee in favor of impeaching Trump for allegedly committing acts of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” The impeachment of Trump was eventually voted down in the Senate.
Karlan’s most notable moment of testimony was mocking Trump’s 14-year-old son Barron.
“Contrary to what President Trump has said, Article 2 does not give him the power to do anything he wants, and I’ll just give you one example that shows you the difference between him and a king, which is, the Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility, so while the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron,” Karlan said.
Just when you thought this impeachment hoax couldn’t get anymore ridiculous, the witness invited by Democrats is throwing cheap shots at the 13 year old son of @realDonaldTrump. Gross and shameful! pic.twitter.com/ugVZfVYDR9
— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) December 4, 2019
The White House, among other allies, condemned Karlan’s comment as “classless.”
“Classless move by a Democratic ‘witness.’ Prof. Karlan uses a teenage boy who has nothing to do with this joke of a hearing (and deserves privacy) as a punchline. And what’s worse, it’s met by laughter in the hearing room. What is being done to this country is no laughing matter,” tweeted former Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham. Grishman has since left her post and was succeeded by Kayleigh McEnany.
Classless move by a Democratic “witness”. Prof Karlan uses a teenage boy who has nothing to do with this joke of a hearing (and deserves privacy) as a punchline. And what’s worse, it’s met by laughter in the hearing room. What is being done to this country is no laughing matter.
— Kayleigh McEnany 45 Archived (@PressSec45) December 4, 2019
After receiving backlash, Karlan issued an apology.
“I want to apologize for what I said earlier about the president’s son. It was wrong of me to do that. I wish the president would apologize, obviously, for the things that he has done that’s wrong but I do regret having said that,” Karlan said during her testimony.
The Oversight Board was created as a reaction to censorship complaints alleged against the social media giant. Conservative groups, and Trump, argue Facebook purposefully censors and removes content, which violates the First Amendment. Left-wing activists argue Facebook should do more to combat “hate speech” and should censor more content. Facebook has more often than not taken the side of left-wing activists.
“In recent years, the question of what content should stay up or come down, and who should decide this, has become increasingly urgent for society. Every content decision made by Facebook impacts people and communities. All of them deserve to understand the rules that govern what they are sharing, how these rules are applied, and how they can appeal those decisions,” the Facebook press release reads.
According to the announcement, Oversight Board members are independent of Facebook and any social media company. Facebook does not fund the Oversight Board, it is independently funded by a $130 million trust. Facebook claims Oversight Board members cannot be directly removed by Facebook.