In the essay, Mr. Pierce discusses what, exactly, the government must prove before it can, consistent with the First Amendment, prosecute someone who posts threatening messages on Facebook. Last Term, a divided Court wrestled with this issue in Elonis v. United States, reversing the defendant's conviction but leaving an important question unanswered: does the government need to prove that a speaker was reckless with his words or, alternatively, that he specifically intended them to be interpreted as threats? The essay suggests that instead of deciding which standard is best for all online threats, lower courts should adopt libel law’s distinction between public and private targets, and similarly apply a heightened mens rea standard only when the speech at issue targets public figures. A Facebook post containing violent language about one’s elected representative implicates free speech values in a way that an otherwise similarly threatening post targeting one’s ex-wife (like Elonis's) does not.
In this podcast, Cathy Hwang and Professor Benjamin P. Edwards discuss their essay The Value of Uncertainty with NULR Online editor William Gohl.
In this book review, Kovvali discusses and critiques certain philosophical underpinnings of "nudges." Nudges are small interventions that change the context in which decisions are made, thus encouraging individuals to make specific choices. Using an analogy to voting paradoxes, Kovvali shows that nudges exploit a type of irrationality that results when citizens attempt to reconcile inconsistent objectives, and concludes that while insights about irrationality are useful when government officials ask how to design an intervention, they often do not provide a convincing justification for why an intervention is needed.
In this podcast, Professor Howard M. Wasserman discusses his essay Crazy in Alabama: Judicial Process and the Last Stand Against Marriage Equality in the Land of George Wallace with NULR Online editor William Gohl.