Supreme Court Agrees To Rule On Limiting First Amendment
This won’t end well for freedom.
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The Supreme Court will soon decide if threatening speech posted on the internet is protected by the First Amendment.
The Court said it will hear an appeal from a Pennsylvania man convicted of making threatening comments on Facebook against his estranged wife, elementary schools, judges and the FBI.
Anthony Elonis was convicted of transmitting threatening communications in interstate commerce and sentenced to 44 months in prison.
The case is Elonis v. United States.
Mr. Elonis’ lawyers argued an individual should not be convicted of making a threat unless there is evidence he actually intended violence. Elonis said much speech posted on the internet is “inherently susceptible to misinterpretation.” He insisted his posted remarks did not demonstrate a “subjective intent to threaten” based on previous Supreme Court precedent and are protected speech under the First Amendment.
The Justice Department countered by saying Elonis’ argument undermines “one of the central purposes of prohibiting threats,” which is to protect individuals “from the fear of violence and from the disruption that fear engenders.”