The United States District Court for the District of South Carolina Columbia Division Wednesday decided that a First Amendment lawsuit filed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) over the state’s prohibition against data scraping may proceed. Judge Mary Geiger Lewis denied a motion to dismiss filed by South Carolina State Court Administrator Tonnya Kohn and Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court Donald Beatty.
The NAACP contends that the prohibition against data scraping is a First Amendment violation because it prevents the organization’s Housing Navigator program from being able to efficiently and effectively achieve its goals by accessing and recording the names and addresses of tenants it is helping.
Kohn and Beatty filed the motion to dismiss on the grounds that the NAACP’s case is dependent on future events that may not occur as anticipated or may not occur at all and on the grounds that the court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction. In the opinion, Lewis rejected the defendants’ arguments based on requirements for a plaintiff to file a First Amendment lawsuit and for a court to hear that lawsuit.