The barring of free speech edition via the Volokh Conspiracy:
Federal Felony To Use Blogs, the Web, Etc. To Cause Substantial Emotional Distress Through “Severe, Repeated, and Hostile” Speech?
That’s what a House of Representatives bill, proposed by Rep. Linda T. Sanchez and 14 others, would do. Here’s the relevant text:
Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behavior, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both….
[“Communication”] means the electronic transmission, between or among points specified by the user, of information of the user’s choosing, without change in the form or content of the information as sent and received; …
[“Electronic means”] means any equipment dependent on electrical power to access an information service, including email, instant messaging, blogs, websites, telephones, and text messages.
Volokh lists a just few of the different ways that this law could be applied, and it’s easy to see how politically inconvenient blogs and websites could be targeted. He thinks that such a vague, and unconstitutional law would be struck down by the Supreme Court, but what was Linda Sanchez even thinking?
Commenter Richard1: Why are you possibly taking this so seriously? 15 out of 435 sign on. It has no chance of passage, no chance of hearings. Every year stupid and unconstitutional bills are proposed.
Another Commenter may have the answer: It’s just the opening salvo of applying speech limitations on the internet.
It’s something to keep an eye on. Liberals are patient, and they tend to get what they want, eventually.
Hat tip: Stop the ACLU