A functioning constitutional democracy requires a strong judiciary which enjoys widespread public confidence and support. But in a country like South Africa where courts are increasingly required to resolve highly controversial political disputes, and where many commentators bemoan the “juridification” of politics and the turn of political actors to a kind of “lawfare”, judges are increasingly accused by both politicians and by ordinary members of the public of being dishonest, of having racial biases, and of being “counter-revolutionaries”. In this paper I ask whether – in the age of social media (especially the age of Twitter) – anything can be done to protect the legitimacy of the judiciary against such attacks, and if something can be done, whether the cost to freedom of expression would be worth the price.
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