Prosecutors must show that a person responsible for threats understood the threatening nature of that speech, justices sayWashington PostBy Ann E. Marimow and Robert BarnesJune 27, 2023The Supreme Court on Tuesday reversed the conviction of a man who made extensive online threats to a stranger, saying free speech protections require prosecutors to prove the stalker was aware of the threatening nature of his communications.In a 7-2 ruling with Justice Elena Kagan writing for the majority, the court emphasized that true threats of violence are not protected by the First Amendment. But to guard against a chilling effect on non-threatening speech, the majority said, states must prove that a criminal defendant has acted recklessly, meaning that he “disregarded a substantial risk that his communications would be viewed as threatening violence.”Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined in part by Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, agreed with the outcome but expressed concern about the risk of cracking down on speech that is unintentionally threatening. She worried that the ruling could lead, for instance, to a high school student going to prison for sending another student violent music lyrics.Justices Clarence Thomas and Amy Coney Barrett dissented from the majority, with Barrett writing that the standard set by the court on Thursday gives “preferential treatment” to a broad range of threatening speech and makes it more difficult for law enforcement to address actual threats.
CNNBy Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Sydney Kashiwagi, Matt Meyer and Tori B. PowellJune 29, 2023Here's what you should know about the Supreme Court's landmark decision on affirmative actionFrom CNN's Ariane de Vogue, Devan Cole and Tierney SneedThe Supreme Court says colleges and universities can no longer take race into consideration as a specific basis for granting admission, a landmark decision overturning long-standing precedent that has benefited Black and Latino students in higher education.Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion for the conservative majority, saying the Harvard and University of North Carolina admissions programs violated the Equal Protection Clause because they failed to offer “measurable” objectives to justify the use of race.He said the programs involve racial stereotyping and had no specific endpoint.The opinion claims the court was not expressly overturning prior cases authorizing race-based affirmative action, and suggested that how race has affected an applicant’s life can still be part of how their application is considered.
NPRBy Steve Inskeep & Nina TotenbergJune 30, 2023The court ruled 6-3 along ideological lines that the First Amendment bars Colorado from "forcing a website designer to create expressive designs speaking messages with which the designer disagrees."