Attorney General Phil Weiser statement on SCOTUS decision in Counterman v. Colorado
June 27, 2023 (DENVER) – Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser released the following statement regarding today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Counterman v. Colorado:
“Stalking is a serious crime that can terrorize and upend victims’ lives. Today, based on an unfortunate view of the First Amendment, the U.S. Supreme Court made it more difficult to stop stalkers from tormenting victims.
“Stalkers cause major harm by their words alone, whether they mean to cause that harm or not. But the Court has chosen to prioritize threats over those terrorized by the threats. According to the Court, protecting the ‘speech’ of threatening stalkers matters more than guarding against the life-changing harms caused to those made to fear for their lives. This ruling fails to take seriously the compelling research that documents how stalking cases—particularly in the domestic violence context—often escalate into physical violence.
“In today’s ruling, the Court creates a loophole for delusional and devious stalkers and misapprehends the very nature of threats faced by stalking victims. In short, this decision will make it more likely that victims of threats—mostly women—will live in fear and will be discouraged from speaking out against their stalkers, believing there is little they can do to hold those stalkers accountable.
“Despite the Court’s decision, I remain committed to protecting victims of stalking and threatening speech to ensure that all Coloradans can live free from fear.”