Violent speech on Facebook

December 4, 2014 1:04 PM

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The United States protects free expression to a far greater extent than other liberal democracies. But even many free-speech advocates are uneasy about a case argued in the Supreme Court this week involving a Pennsylvania man who took to Facebook to engage in violent and vituperative speech about his estranged wife and law enforcement officials.

Anthony D. Elonis vs. the United States is the quintessential "hard case" in which an odious person is seeking the protection of the 1st Amendment. But the court would be making bad law by upholding Elonis' conviction and the legal theory underlying it.

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