“The Supreme Court has held for 50 years that anonymous speech is protected,” explained Volokh, pointing to the 1960 case Talley v. California. “This kind of breach of anonymity on demand is just not constitutional.”
“I would love to hear from these legislators… Presumably at least one of them should be able to speak to the constitutional objections to the statute,” Volokh added.
The sponsor of the state Senate’s version, Republican Thomas O’Mara, told TheDC that he had not initially considered that the legislation might ban First Amendment-protected speech.
“Today is the first day that these issues have been raised,” O’Mara said. “I haven’t gotten any comments from any of my colleagues in the Senate who said that this wasn’t a good idea.”