The first amendment to our constitution provides us with an invaluable protection to say anything we want – or at least almost anything we want. Judges and attorneys frequently have to balance the rights granted by the first amendment with their duty to protect citizens of the United States. In certain instances, such as injurious false statements (defamation) or threats, protecting individual citizens takes priority over the right to free speech. Defining that line is something courts continue to struggle with.
In one lawsuit currently being argued before the Supreme Court, Anthony Elonis faces the possibility of jail time for posting violent song lyrics about his wife and children on the Internet. Elonis posted these lyrics under the rap persona of Tone Dougie, but he did not keep his true identity a secret. Continue reading ›