Vice Squad
Thursday, July 01, 2004
Oh No: One More Post on Ashcroft v. ACLU

Just wanted to bring the pain to a quick end by providing a guide to the four previous posts motivated by the Supreme Court's decision concerning the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) in Ashcroft v. ACLU et al.

First, there was this background post explaining obscenity law as formed by Miller v. California; the constitutionally-mandated demise of the earlier Communications Decency Act and its subsequent replacement by COPA; as well as some other permutations on internet porn regulation.

Second, there was this even-more-tedious post looking in some detail at last year's Supreme Court decision concerning the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA); the ruling upheld the law that provided significant incentives for public libraries and schools to put filters on all of their Internet connections.

Third, the first two long posts were brilliantly joined in this post, that looked at how the CIPA ruling found its way into the COPA case.

Fourth, this post offered a few words about Justice Breyer's dissenting opinion and Justice Stevens's concurring opinion.

Other deep commentary on the decision has been provided by US Congressman Mark Foley (R - Florida), who found himself astonished: "I'm am stunned the High Court, once again, sided with pornographers over children." Yes, who will protect Our Children from the fiendish child-haters who somehow have wormed their way onto the Supreme Court? Great-grandfather but friend-to-vile-pornographers Justice Stevens gets the final word (case citation omitted):
COPA's criminal penalties are, moreover, strong medicine for the ill that the statute seeks to remedy. To be sure, our cases have recognized a compelling interest in protecting minors from exposure to sexually explicit materials. As a parent, grandparent, and great-grandparent, I endorse that goal without reservation. As a judge, however, I must confess to a growing sense of unease when the interest in protecting children from prurient materials is invoked as a justification for using criminal regulation of speech as a substitute for, or a simple backup to, adult oversight of children's viewing habits.

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