When should proposed violence be prosecuted?
How close to publicly proposed criminal action must a person come before the threat of such action becomes a crime in itself?
Though this is not a new legal question, certain 21st-century events call for it to be revisited by the Supreme Court, urgency for the Court’s attention rising from statements by U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, and others whose rhetoric threatens individual lives and the stability of the nation.
Greene’s calls for lethal action against named opponents of her ideology and Flynn’s support for armed insurrection against the Government of the United States are more than just words. Because both hold positions that command followings, their intemperate calls for violence pose broad threats to targeted individuals and the nation.
In other words, how close to the gasoline he spills in your house must an arsonist hold a lit match before the threat he presents becomes a punishable crime?