The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Monday, June 28, 2004
 

Supremes' decision in net smut case this week?


Thus spake Declan McCullagh, at least. Indeed, today may be the day!

(It's a truly lousy piece of sourcing by the way -
The court is expected to decide early next week whether the Child Online Protection Act violates Americans' right to free expression...

Not even a coy reference to officials speaking on condition of anonymity. On a strict reading, he could be relying on a gypsy's warning or a reading of the tea-leaves.)

What if the worst comes to the worst? One line to pursue is John Kerry's attitude to prosecution, of this law and smut generally. He's unlikely to be giving a speech on the subject; but now is the time to affect (so far as it can be done) the advice he is getting.

Clinton, as I recall, virtually shut up shop - except in relation to child pornography. Regular smut was hardly prosecuted at all. Part of the bastardy of COPA, of course, is that it smears the issue with the gloopiness of doing it for the kids. My impression is that Comstocks like Brent Bozell and his Parents Television Council are far better organised than they were under Clinton.

On the other side, we have the genuine overbreadth of the wretched law, which is, naturally, part of the First Amendment case. But - think of a President Kerry assailed on many fronts, including the Comstocks. With Bozell running Harry and Louise ads with the cutest little kids whose minds are being polluted on account of Kerry's intellectual elitist friends in the media and Academe.

An anti-smut crusade in the Justice Department would cost just a few dozen millions of bucks, and give great TV. Can you say Sister Souljah?

There are no votes in freedom of speech...


MORE

The documentation for Ashcroft v ACLU is on this Findlaw page, fourth case down.


STILL MORE

SCOTUSBlog today says
The last day of the term will be tomorrow. The Court will issue its decisions in Alvarez-Machain and Ashcroft v. ACLU.

YET MORE (June 29)

On the Clinton - or rather the Janet Reno - record in prosecuting obscenity, I see from the Respondents' Brief on the Merits (p35n) that there have been fewer than 15 obscenity prosecutions annually since 1997. (And that period, if I'm not mistaken, includes the term of the Christian right's golden boy, John Ashcroft!) More detail on the obscenity prosecution record of both Clinton and Bush administrations in my piece of November 11 2002.


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