Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Calling for Obama Assassination is Free Speech as Court Rules

Free speech is protected under the 1st Amendment. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals have rendered that bloviating out of frustration or talking about violence is not the same as carrying out the deed. Therefore, if one says the president should be shot is protected by free speech. Fair enough!

(LA Times) A La Mesa man who posted racial epithets and a call to "shoot" Barack Obama on an Internet chat site was engaging in constitutionally protected free speech, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday in overturning his criminal conviction.

A divided panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that conviction Tuesday, saying Bagdasarian's comments were "particularly repugnant" because they endorsed violence but that a reasonable person wouldn't have taken them as a genuine threat.

The observation that Obama "will have a 50 cal in the head soon" and a call to "shoot the [racist slur]" weren't violations of the law under which Bagdasarian was convicted because the statute doesn't criminalize "predictions or exhortations to others to injure or kill the president," said the majority opinion written by Judge Stephen Reinhardt.