On December 1, 2014, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Elonis v. United States. The question in this case is twofold. First, this case asks whether the First Amendment requires proof of the defendant’s subjective intent to threaten in order to convict someone of threatening another person under 18 U.S. C. § 875(c), or whether it is sufficient to demonstrate that a “reasonable person” would consider the statement to be threatening. The second question in this case is whether, as a matter of statutory interpretation, conviction of another person requires proof of the defendant’s subjective intent to threaten.
To discuss the case, we have Kent S. Scheidegger, Legal Director & General Counsel, Criminal Justice Legal Foundation.