In 2010, Anthony Elonis, who had lost custody of his children in a messy divorce, and had just lost his job, posted on his Facebook account there were “enough elementary schools in a ten-mile radius to initiate the most heinous school shooting ever imagined.” He added, “And hell hath no fury like a crazy man in a kindergarten class.” He also posted about his wife that “I’m not going to rest until your body is a mess, soaked in blood and dying from all the little cuts.” That was enough for a Pennsylvania court to convict Elonis of violating Title 18 of the federal interstate criminal code, which makes it a felony to threaten bodily harm to someone over any interstate communication medium. Elonis was sentenced to almost four years in prison. Elonis’ attorneys have appealed, saying that the conviction violated Elonis’ first amendment rights. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court said it would hear the case. Joining us to help us sort this all out is University of Wisconsin Law School professor Shubha Ghosh.
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