“This can’t possibly be consistent with the First Amendment”

California is prosecuting a man under state electronic-harassment law for posting five insults on an Islamic Center’s Facebook page [Eugene Volokh] A court filing by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra denies that the insults are protected speech or that the law is unconstitutional as applied. UCLA First Amendment expert Eugene Volokh writes, of California’s logic defending the prosecution: “This can’t possibly be consistent with the First Amendment.”

Related: New Jersey Supreme Court adopts narrow reading of criminal harassment statute so as to avoid covering repeated offensive speech which, though intended to annoy, does not invade privacy or put target in reasonable fear as to safety or security.


  • I live in California and have a Jewish Facebook group from which I delete insults daily. I wonder if I’d be able to get a prosecution based on this, though I don’t really want to try.

    • “though I don’t really want to try.”

      Good for you!

  • The very thin justification for harassment claims when posting to an individual’s facebook page totally evaporates when it is to an organization’s page. This is simple protection of a favored “minority”–ie moslems.