Does Eugene Volokh agree with Bill Schmalfeldt’s interpretation of U. S. v. Cassidy? Well, it’s certainly true that Prof. Volokh agrees that writing about someone on the Internet is protected speech. But how about writing to someone? I’ll let the good professor speak for himself. Here’s what he had to say when writing about the patently unconstitutional peace order Brett Kimberlin secured against Aaron Walker last year, an order that forbade Mr. Walker from writing about Kimberlin—
The old narrow restrictions might well be constitutional (see, e.g., Rowan v. U.S. Post Office Department), but precisely because they deal with essentially one-to-one speech — restricting such unwanted speech to an unwilling listener leaves the speaker free to keep talking to other, potentially willing listeners.
Of course, it is just that sort of one-to-one speech that the Cabin Boy engaged in after being asked to stop which violated Maryland’s harassment law. Prof. Volokh also notes that
[p]erhaps a specific statute that bars the deliberate sending of one-to-one messages to a person who has asked that the messages stop, or who would otherwise clearly be substantially distressed by the messages, might be constitutional.
So it looks as if Prof. Volokh might agree that old-fashioned harassment statutes apply to behavior on the Internet just as they do in the real world. Perhaps the Cabin Boy should ask Eugene Volokh to file an amicus brief.