Supreme Court rules on threats on Social Media must have intent
John P. Elwood, Elonis’ lawyer stressed in court briefs that his client often posted disclaimers noting he was only exercising his freedom of speech. “The First Amendment¹s basic command is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds it offensive or disagreeable,” Elwood wrote. At trial , Elonis testified that his Facebook posts were partly inspired by rap star Eminem.
In court briefs Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr defended the conviction.”He was aware of the meaning and context of his Facebook posts, and those posts communicated a serious expression of an intent to do harm, “Verrilli wrote.Verilli said there was no comparison between Elonis’ threats and the protected speech of commercial rap artists made in a “very different” context. But the ACLU filed a brief in support of Elonis argued that context matters. “Words are slippery things,” wrote Stephen Shapiro. He said…
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