Counterman v. Colorado (2023)

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Counterman v. Colorado was a SCOTUS in the Classroom case. It was decided on June 27, 2023.

This case was about the definition of a “true threat” not protected by the First Amendment. Is it when the person making the statement intends to harm or when the recipient is reasonably afraid of being harmed?

Each term Street Law selects the most classroom-relevant, student-friendly cases as our SCOTUS in the Classroom cases. Teachers are encouraged to conduct moot courts the same week the case is argued, giving students the opportunity to follow discussion and analysis in the news and listen to or read a transcript of the actual oral arguments.

Case Issue:

To establish that a statement is a “true threat” unprotected by the First Amendment, must the government show that the speaker subjectively knew or intended the threatening nature of the statement, or is it enough to show that an objective “reasonable person” would regard the statement as a threat of violence?

Case Briefs:

Oral Argument:


News Articles and Resources:

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This resource was developed with support from the Supreme Court Historical Society.

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