Elonis v. U.S.

With the explosion of social media sites, with online threats and cyber bullying, issues of freedom of speech have taken on a whole new aspect. Elonis v. U.S. represents the first time the Supreme Court has considered whether or not posts can be limited. After studying the case, groups apply the arguments put forth by the judges to two mock trial situations.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Have groups research the June 1, 2015 Supreme Court decision, the majority and minority opinions, and the meaning of mens rea in this context
  • Ask class members to use the majority and minority arguments as a model for their mock trials
Classroom Considerations
  • The resource suggest arranging for the activity to take place in a local federal courtroom, with an acting judge, and local attorneys as coaches; however, the activity may be modified for classroom use
  • The resource was published before the June 1, 2015 decision; therefore, no information about the decision is included in the resource
  • The 17-page packet includes directions for how to use the resources provided, transcripts of the lower court rulings, guidelines for drafting arguments, discussion questions, and the scenarios for two mock trials
  • None