WASHINGTON – Supreme Court justices are vigorously debating the Digital Age question of where the line should be drawn between free speech and illegal threats.
The case argued Monday involves a Pennsylvania man convicted of making violent threats after he posted Facebook rants about killing his estranged wife, harming law enforcement officials and shooting up a kindergarten class.
Lawyers for Anthony Elonis say he didn’t mean to threaten anyone. They contend the government must prove he actually intended his comments as actual threats to others. The government argues the real test is whether his words would make a reasonable person feel threatened.
Several justices seemed concerned that the government’s position is too broad and risks sweeping up language that is protected by the First Amendment.